Dozens of youth on Thursday protested against the alleged incessant brutality and extra-judicial killings by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The protesters chanting solidarity songs marched to the State Police Headquarters in Ilorin through the Challenge, with placards bearing various inscriptions seeking the disbandment of the police unit.

The inscriptions on some of the placards they carried read: “Stop killing young people”; “The people are the cabal, no the govt”; “Enough is enough, end SARS now”; Safety is our right, not a privilege”; among several others.

Speaking with one of the protesters, identified only as Salman, he said, “They cannot continue to hold us to ransom in our own country. Enough of the brutality, enough of the extra-judicial killings, enough of all sorts of harassment.”

The Convener of the protest, Comrade Olanrewaju Buhari said, “We seek for the reformation of the Police Force and likewise disbandment of SARS. We need to put a stop to the brutality and harassment by uniformed men.”

Paul Omata, the State Deputy Commissioner of Police, who addressed the protesters, hailed them for their peaceful conduct and promised to deliver their messages to higher authorities in Nigeria Police Force for necessary action.

The State Commissioner of Police, Kayode Egbetokun had in a statement on Tuesday, October 6 denied the presence of SARS operatives in the state.

The claim, contained in a press statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer Kwara State Command, Sp Okasanmi Ajayi, added that the unit is operating under the supervision of the Commissioner of Police, noting that the operatives lack the statutory power to investigate cases and could only be seen on the street during emergency periods – robbery and kidnapping.

He, however, referred Kwara residents to the previously released statement where searching and checking of phones and harassment of innocent citizens by police officers in the Command were banned and members of the public were charged to report any SARS operatives seen on patrol searching of citizens phones indiscriminately to the Commissioner of Police through the following numbers: 08125275046/08032365122.

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