ENDSARS: Buhari vows to sanction erring officers, pledges reforms as protests turn bloody

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By Ayo Fadimu, Moses Victor and Tobi Adetunji.

President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that all police officers responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) will be brought to justice.

The president stated this on Monday in Abuja at the launch of the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme (P-YES), aimed at creating 774,000 jobs across the Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country.

Buhari also said that the disbandment of the SARS, was the first step to extensive police reforms by his administration.

He said: “I will like to use this opportunity to say a word on the recent genuine concerns and agitations by Nigerians about the excessive use of force and in some cases extra-judicial killings and wrongful conduct of the men of the Nigerian Police Force.

“The disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms in order to ensure that the primary duty of the police and other law enforcement agencies remains the protection of lives and livelihood of our people.

“We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts are brought to justice.

“We deeply regret the loss of life of the young man in Oyo State during the recent demonstrations.

“I have directed that the circumstances of his death should be thoroughly investigated.

“Meanwhile, it is important to recognise that the vast majority of men and women of the police force are hardworking and diligent in performing their duties.

“The few bad eggs should not be allowed to tarnish the image and reputation of the force.”

In the meantime, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is set to meet President Muhammadu Buhari today (Tuesday), as violent protests continue to rock Lagos, despite the termination of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu.

The #ENDSARS protest which took a turn of physical demonstration since last week, has lingered as irate protesters have continued to ignore attempts by government officials to bring the protest to a halt.

The protest on Monday received heightened fire in Lagos metropolis, following the killing of a man and the brutal attacks against protesters by Police operatives in Surulere, Lagos.

Meanwhile, a Police Inspector, Erinfolami Ayodeji of Anti kidnapping Unit, Lagos State command Surulere, was shot dead while two other police officers were seriously injured.

This was according to a press statement by the police spokeperson, Lagos Command, SP Olumuyiwa Adejobi and made available to journalists in Lagos.

According to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, at about 1pm, some armed protesters stormed the Anti-kidnapping Unit office of the command, broke into the cell and liberated two kidnap cases suspects, before they were tactically and professionally repelled.

In the process, it was said that, Inspector Ekei Joshua with AP No 175493, Inspector Peter Agabi with AP No 251138 and Inspector Erinfolami Ayodeji with AP No 22924 (now late) attached to the Anti-kidnapping Unit of Lagos State Command, located at Iyun Road, Surulere were shot and critically injured, while they were subsequently rushed to the intensive Care of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.

The Police Boss according to the Statement, claimed that protesters fired and killed a 55-year-old man Ikechukwu Ilohamauzo driving a Toyota Sienna Bus, with Registration number LSD 296 FX who got stuck in the traffic caused by the violent protesters in Surulere.

He said, the attacked police Inspectors and Mr. Ikechukwu Ilohamauzu were hit and injured by pellets reasonably fired from pump actions/locally-made guns. The corpses of the deceased has been deposited in a mortuary for autopsy.

The Commissioner of Police further revealed that four other suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident and the Homicide section of SCID, Yaba, Lagos had been directed to carry out a thorough investigation into the incidence for further police actions.

However, the source of the stray bullet that hit 55-year-old Ikechukwu Ilohamauzo, leading to his death, has remained controversial. Accusing fingers have been pointed at the Police, as protesters were unarmed, the police has continually denied the claim.