Outrage erupted on Friday night on social media as President Muhammadu Buhari rebuffed calls to scrap the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police.
Though Buhari buckled under pressure to speak on raging street protests in some Nigerian cities over the continued existence of the outfit, he dodged the key issue of scrapping it entirely.
In tweets after an emergency meeting with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu at the State House, Buhari said he had directed the police boss to address the concerns of Nigerians on the matter.
He said: “I met again with the IGP tonight. Our determination to reform the police should never be in doubt. I am being briefed regularly on the reform efforts ongoing to end police brutality and unethical conduct, and ensure that the Police are fully accountable to the people.
The IG already has my firm instructions to conclusively address the concerns of Nigerians regarding these excesses, and ensure erring personnel are brought to justice. I appeal for patience & calm, even as Nigerians freely exercise their right to peacefully make their views known.
The vast majority of men and women of the Nigeria Police Force are patriotic and committed to protecting the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians, and we will continue to support them to do their job.”
His comments were, however, greeted with outrage as Nigerians lambasted him for failing to address the real issues.
Respondents posted videos of atrocities committed by SARS policemen in recent times.
They also posted a pictorial list of victims of extra-judicial killings by SARS and demanded immediate action.
Some threatened to mobilise for a total shutdown of the Federal Capital Territory on Monday in order to force the president to scrap SARS.
There had been concerns about the refusal of broadcast stations to publish reports of the #ENDSARS protests, especially Thursday night’s brutal attack on protesters at a sleepover on the grounds of the Lagos State House of Assembly.