Following continued attacks and looting by suspected hoodlums that hijacked the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed for peace.
Buhari’s plea comes as a judicial panel set up to investigate police abuses in the commercial hub of Lagos begins sittings on Monday.
The #EndSARS protesters had initially set out to demand the disbandment of a rogue police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), accused of extortion, rape, extrajudical killings, among others.
Following the disbandment of SARS by the police boss, Mohammed Adamu, the protesters demanded an investigative panel which would ensure police officers accused of abuse are held accountable.
They also want victims of police brutality or their relatives to be compensated by the government.
Lagos state was the first of the country’s 36 states to set up a panel and has asked people to submit complaints.
In a tweet, President Buhari said the inquiry had his full support.
He wrote, “The Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the Lagos State Govt has my full support,as it commences sitting this week. I‘m confident that all the State Panels will help ensure justice is done on behalf of the peaceful protesters and law enforcement agents who sadly lost their lives.”
He said he had all along avoided going into a debate about the shootings in Lekki toll gate, a wealthy suburb in Lagos, until all the facts are established, according to a statement from his office.
“The President advises that peace, brotherhood, and inter communal harmony are central to our ethos and urges Nigerians ‘not to turn against one another in hate’,” the statement said.
The investigations will start after nearly two weeks of protests across Nigeria by youths demanding police reforms and how the country is run.
President Buhari said 69 people were killed during the violent protests, including 51 civilians.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the authorities had expanded the scope of investigations to include the shooting incident at the Lekki toll gate last Tuesday.
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