As widespread protests against police brutality continue for a seventh day in Nigeria, the president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the National Assembly will ensure that the five demands made by protesters are implemented.
Speaking during a plenary session, Lawan described the demands by the protesters as “legitimate”, and said the National Assembly would “prevail on the Executive arm of government to ensure expeditious implementation.”
He however urged the protesters to end the street protests so that the Federal Government can have the chance to see that their demands are met.
“We took a motion…on the challenges that we face, especially with respect to the SARS activities across the country and, of course, we took far reaching resolutions, Lawan said. “Nigerians, let me say, have the right to peaceful demonstration. When they feel very strongly about issues, they can do so to call the attention of the leaders of this country for appropriate action to be taken.”
Lawan said that the government has responded to calls for the police unit, SARS to be disbanded and “all the five demands of the protesters have been accepted.”
“What I’ll urge here is if such demands have been accepted, then we should expedite taking action to actualize them,” Lawan said. “Both chambers of the National Assembly have identified with the protests that they are legitimate protests and demands.”
SARS, the police unit whose acts of violence and illegal practices set off the protests last week, has been disbanded, but another unit, SWAT, was created in its place.
However, protests have not stopped, and some cities like Lagos, Ibadan and the capital, Abuja are even seeing larger crowds.
“I think the next vital step is for the protests to stop because the initial reasons for the protests have been accepted as facts and government is trying to do everything possible,” Lawan said.
“I urge government and that includes us, that we should push to ensure that those demands of the protesters that the executive side has accepted to implement, are implemented as quickly as possible.”
Protesters have reiterated their demands for a complete overhaul of the police force. The ‘five-point’ demand includes the immediate release of all protesters arrested, justice for all deceased victims of police brutality, psychological evaluation of all security officers, setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation of all reports of police misconduct and the increase of the salaries of police officers so that they are adequately compensated for their jobs.