#EndSARS Protesters To Hold Candlelight Procession In Lagos
#EndSARS protesters in Lagos State are set to hold a candlelight procession later today, in honour of victims of extra judicial killings in the country.
The protesters are billed to hold the session around the Alausa area of the state and the Lekki Toll Gate, which have been the main converging points for those who have been demanding justice for the deceased.
This is the 10th day since the youths began taking to the streets and despite efforts by the government to quell the protests, it only appears to have gained more momentum.
On Sunday, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, announced the dissolution of the unit which is at the centre of the protests – the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Days later, the IGP, set up a new unit called the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team, to replace the disbanded SARS.
However, shortly after, a new movement – #EndSWAT dominated the trends as many Nigerians believe that a mere change of name is not the solution to the problem.
The protesters have, therefore, defied all efforts to stop them and are bent on continuing until all their demands are met.
Some of the demands include releasing all arrested protesters, justice and compensation for families of victims, the creation of an independent body to oversee the prosecution of officers (within 10 days), psychological evaluation of disbanded officers before redeployment, and the increase of police officers’ salaries.
While the police appear to be making some effort, many Nigerians feel it is not satisfactory.
Beyond setting up a new unit, prospective members of the new team are expected to undergo a psychological and medical examination to ascertain their fitness and eligibility for the new assignment.
The IGP has also ordered all personnel of the disbanded SARS to report to the Force headquarters in Abuja for debriefing, psychological and medical examination.
While a time-frame for the medical evaluation has not been disclosed, the IGP was quoted to have said in a statement by the Force PRO, Frank Mba, that the officers are expected to undergo the process as a prelude to further training and reorientation before being redeployed into mainstream policing duties.
The medical examination will be carried out by a newly set-up Police Counselling and Support Unit (PCSU), a unit which the Force says will, henceforth, engage in psychological management, reorientation and training of the officers of the force deployed for tactical operations and other duties.
As part of steps being taken by the Lagos State Government to address the five-point demands of the youths, a seven-man Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution has been set up to investigate cases of human rights violations.
The panel, which Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu announced on Thursday, is being headed by retired Justice Doris Okuwobi and will sit for six months.
It has been mandated to thoroughly investigate all verifiable claims of abuses and fatalities arising from SARS engagement in the state, with the objective to bring erring officers to justice and get compensation for the victims.
Meanwhile, the governor condemned the violence that marred the EndSARS protest in Surulere on Monday.
Speaking further, he announced that all the four erring police officers who fired live ammunition at peaceful protesters in Area C Police Command in Surulere have been identified and are currently facing an orderly room trial that is being monitored by the government.