By Nafiu Toyin Abdulqadri.
The deputy governor of Kwara State, Mr. Kayode Alabi Monday told a large gathering of #EndSARS protesters in Ilorin that their agitation was not what any State government can handle.
Receiving a large number of young people who converged on the Kwara State Government House, the deputy governor who spoke of behalf of the Governor, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq said “The disbandment of SARS as a unit goes beyond any state government.”
Alabi, however, promised that the governor “will be meeting with representatives of the protesters at the presidential lodge tomorrow, 13th of October at 2 p.m. in order to chart a way forward.”
The #EndSARS protest, which has been on in several Nigerian cities for days, is part of a larger public discomfort and general agitation against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a police unit reputed for its human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings.
Protests began across the country last week as politicians, activists, celebrities and other Nigerians joined the call for the total disbandment of the notorious police unit.
The protest also trended on social media, drawing support from prominent individuals and groups across the globe. The hashtag, #EndSARS has been adjudged one of the few that garnered above 30 million mentions in less than 48 hours.
Although the Inspector General of Police had announced the dissolution of the unit on Sunday, the Ilorin protesters however proceeded to register their voices, calling for the immediate implementation of the disbandment and reformation of the police force.
A representative of the protesters, Saheed Rahman said the youth are requesting for an abrupt end to SARS. He appealed to the state government to lend their voice to the dissolution of the police unit.
Also speaking at the protest, the executive director, Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative, Abideen Olasupo appreciated the protesters and called for an overhauling of the law enforcement agency.
“The pronouncement from the IG cannot end SARS in Nigeria. Beyond the #EndSars, we are advocating a total overhaul of the Nigeria Police Force. Good salaries should be paid to the officers. Proper training should be conducted. Psychology test during recruitment process,” he said.
Mr Olasupo also demanded the immediate release of protesters arrested and the prosecution of officers culpable of killing protesters.