The Inspector-General of Police announced the scrapping of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) on Sunday. However, a few minutes after the announcement, the Police attacked #EndSARS protesters with tear gas, water cannons, and live ammunition according to a Nairametrics analyst.
Nairametrics reported on Sunday that the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, dissolved the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS).
“The IGP appreciates and commends all citizens particularly those who genuinely express their concerns for a better policing orientation in an organized, patriotic, and civil manner. He reaffirms the determination of the Force to bequeath to the country a Police Force and System that is professional in service delivery and most importantly, accountable to the people,” the IGP said.
However, Nairametrics covered the protests over the weekend and it turned out the officers stationed at the Force HQ may not have gotten the memo.
— OZO (@IsaOzo) October 11, 2020
The protesters after getting the news of the dissolution of the SARS, listened to a speech by activist, Aisha Yeshufu, at the Maitama roundabout in Abuja. The protesters agreed to take their protest to the Force HQ in a peaceful manner, marching from Maitama roundabout to the Secretariat.
Immediately after crossing the Federal Secretariat and approaching the Force HQ, Policemen attacked peaceful protesters unprovoked using tear gas, water cannons and also dispersing the crowd with gunshots warnings.
The world needs to see this.
On the very day the govt told us #SARS had been dissolved, the police reminded us that their brutality was here to stay. They attacked us, they assaulted us.
The Abuja police is attacking peaceful protesters!!#EndSarsNow#EndPoliceBrutalityinNigeria pic.twitter.com/3ALJhVEY7w
— Olorogun (@OkKevwe) October 11, 2020
Journalist, David Hundeyin, who was at the scene of the attack after the IGP’s announcement said, “Just staged a PEACEFUL March to the Force HQ and got badly teargassed for the 2nd time today, after which we were hit by a water cannon and then multiple live bullet rounds into the air”
“They came after us on foot brandishing horsewhips” he added.
According to the Nairametrics analyst, the Police chased the unarmed protesters from Secretariat down to Transcorp Hilton junction. The Police perpetrated a number of atrocities; they slashed car tyres, hit cars, manhandled fleeing protesters, seized phones and arrested whoever they caught up with. All these happened a few minutes after the IGP announced the dissolution of SARS.
The FG needs to address the issue of total Police brutality which is related to the SARS protests. Protesting is a constitutional right, and the Abuja protesters were mainly peaceful and unarmed. However, they were teargassed 3 times on Sunday, which begs the question of whether the FG is truly ready to implement the publicized dissolution of SARS.