Nigerian President Muhammadu Bukhari said he was determined to end police brutality, implement reforms and bring the wrong staff to justice.
His comments came after two days of protests sparked by a video of a man allegedly killed by police. The protest was initially aimed at the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which was widely accused of illegal arrests, torture and murder.
The protesters say they want the unit to be dissolved and not reformed. Previous commitments to change the behavior of the police didn’t see any impact, according to critics.
In a series of tweets, the president said: The determination of his government to reform the police should be undoubted. He added that he was informed of the ongoing reform efforts to end police brutality and unethical behavior.
He called for calm and stressed that most police officers are committed to protecting Nigerians.
Police in the capital, Abuja, fired tear gas at demonstrators who marched against police harassment and brutality.
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. pic.twitter.com/yoLoZt7Et9
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) October 9, 2020
A police spokesman said the force being used against protestors is minimal, but protesters told the BBC that several people had been beaten and one said he had heard gunfire.
The hashtag #EndSARS trended worldwide on Twitter on Friday, with celebrities including Nigerian superstars Wizkid and Davido posting in support of the protesters.