#EndSARS: #NigerianLivesMatter, compensation for victims | Salient points from Naira Marley’s Instagram Live with Police PRO

Naira Marley has currently placed himself in a position that’s probably making him uncomfortable, knowing other popular figures have done same and received heavy backlash.

The singer who is known to have started the Marlian movement joined the conversation on Twitter to call for an end to police brutality and extortion – the #EndSARS trend that saw the likes of Wizkid, Tiwa Savage Teni, Runtown and a host of other celebrities using their platforms to speak out against the deadly Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

And, to take the protest out of social media, Naira Marley had called for a protest scheduled for Tuesday (today), October 6, 2020. However, considering the COVID-19 and the safety of his fans, Naira Marly cancelled the event just this morning. Also, in response to the said protest, the Nigeria Police PRO, Frank Mba hosted an Instagram Live with the singer.

Here are the hot takes from the Live conversation:

The singer started by highlighting reasons he accepted the police invitation after the scheduled protest. He stated that it was out of respect for the force and the safety of Nigerians.

Nigerian lives matter: The singer pointed out that it makes no sense that the police are killing Nigerians on the basis of looks.

Reforming the SARS: Naira Marley was of the opinion that a total wipeout of SARS was unnecessary. He stated that what the unit needed is restructuring. Highlighting the following, Naira Marley stated the changes he wanted the police to adopt as it concerns SARS:

  • Use of uniforms: SARS should always be in their uniforms and should only appear for duties that fit their unit – Special robbery cases.
  • Accountability/Transparency: The police and SARS should be held accountable by the public. Naira Marley requested that the police should be very radical about giving Nigerians updates on their activities. He requested update for the SARS officers that were said to have been arrested earlier.
  • Compensation for victims: The singer went further to ask the police to pay for the damages inflicted on the families of the victims affected by SARS.
  • Sanitisation of SARS operatives: Naira Marley stressed that many Nigerian youth already have a certain perception of the unit and the police need to work on changing that. He spoke against tagging youth with dreads, tattoos, and piercing as criminals.

The police PRO stated that the response of the police to human rights abuse by SARS has been prompt. Frank also pointed out that the police has zero-tolerance for human right abuse, and reminded viewers that the primary duty of the police is to protect the lives and properties of citizens.

Responding to Naira Marley’s statement, Frank highlighted the following:

Reforming SARS and the ban: Following the social media protest Sunday, October 4, 2020, the police IGP, Mohammed Adamu placed a ban on SARS and other special units of the police. Frank assured Nigerians that the ban this time around was for real as this was not the first time that the unit would be placed on a ban. The PRO also said that in reforming SARS, measures are already in motion of which has the interest of many Nigerians in consideration.

Accountability: Frank pointed out that Nigerians are within their rights to hold the police accountable and that their outcry is valid.

The role of youth in driving change:  Frank went further to call on the youth to join the police force as he pointed out that they have a role to play in the sanitisation of the system.

Improvement in the force: The police executive also stated that Nigeria is currently gearing towards an improved technological system for efficiency in the force. He pointed out that in some parts of the country, select officers now have with them, body cams that would be used to monitor crime and transparency between officers and suspects.

Investing in security: Frank Mba concluded by asking wealthy and influential Nigerians to invest in improving the security system in Nigeria.

Here are a few reactions from Twitter:

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