The Northern Governors’ Forum says it opposed the #EndSARS protesters because the notorious police unit has been useful in the fight against insecurity in the northern part of Nigeria.
According to the chairman of the forum, Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, not all SARS officers are rogues as the unit also has some good personnel.
Nigerian youth in many parts of Nigeria have been demonstrating against the use of excessive force, harassment, extortion and extra-judicial killings by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police.
The largely peaceful demonstrations and social media campaign have drawn attention and support across the world and forced the government to announce the scrapping of the unit and created the Special Weapon and Tactics (SWAT) to take its place.
However, protesters have refused to back down, demanding wholesale police reform.
The protesters have issued a five-point demand which includes the release of all persons arrested and justice for victims of police brutality, an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct and psychological evaluation of all disbanded SARS officers before their redeployment.
They also demanded an increase in the salary of police officers and general improvement in their welfare package to enhance the discharge of their duties.
However, the NGF through its chairman and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, rejected the dissolution of SARS.
Mr Lalong met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja Thursday afternoon.
Pro-SARS protests have been held in Jigawa, Borno and a few other northern states.
According to Mr Lalong, “SARS is not made up of bad elements alone as it also includes personnel who are doing their work diligently.”
Mr Lalong said the disbanded police unit has been useful in the fight against insecurity in the north.
He noted that although some states have genuine cases that need to be addressed, one should not just “throw them (SARS) away.”
He said the northern governors agreed that President Muhammadu Buhari should look at the issues of police reforms holistically before coming up with a way forward.