From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) yesterday, apologised to Nigerians over the excesses of some policemen that led to the #EndSARS protest in October 2020, saying the police have learnt their lessons and appropriate steps are being taken to ensure effective policing of the country.
The apology came from the new Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 11, comprising Oyo and Osun states, Mr. Agunbiade Oluyemi, during his working and familiarisation visit to Oyo State, where he was received by the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mrs. Ngozi Onadeko.
“We have learnt a lot of lesson from the #EndSARS and that is going to be the end of our affairs with members of the public. Now, we are out to protect the protesters and protesters can always have their way and we will make sure that it is not hijacked by hoodlums, as they hijacked the #EndSARS protest and turned it to hooliganism and destroyed property. They even killed police officers and became tyrannical. They became criminals, whereas the #EndSARS has made us to know that we have to ensure that no stone is left unturned in terms of our policing strategy.”
The AIG held meetings with strategic stakeholders in the security architecture of the state that included religious, traditional and market leaders, as well as the leadership of the Police Community Relation Committee (PCRC) and with top police officers in the state.
During the meeting with the stakeholders, he stated that the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was set up for surprise operations against armed robbers. He said some of its personnel got it wrong when they began to arrest suspected internet fraudsters as well as undergraduates or youths with laptops on the road.