President Muhammadu Buhari says at least 69 people have been killed in the #EndSARS protests raging across the country.
According to BBC, the president announced the death toll during a virtual meeting with former leaders and security chiefs on Friday.
Buhari was quoted as saying 51 civilians, 11 police officers, and seven soldiers had been killed in the unrest.
A statement released by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, at the end of the meeting also quoted Buhari as saying it is unfortunate that the “initial genuine and well-intended protest of youths was hijacked and misdirected”.
According to the statement, the President recounted the initial concessions made by his administration on the demands of youths protesting against the excesses of some members of the SARS.
He recalled that the youths had demanded that the squad be disbanded, and further articulated the additional demands, including the immediate release of all arrested protesters; justice for deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families; and setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of Police misconduct within 10 days.
Others are psychological evaluation and re-training of all disbanded SARS officers before they can be re-deployed; and increase in Police salary.
“The President declared: ”We accepted all the demands and proceeded immediately to scrap SARS and started the process of addressing the other demands.
”Unfortunately, the protesters refused to call off the protest and engage the Government to address their grievances. Instead, they became emboldened and gradually turned violent.”
“President Buhari expressed concern that in the mayhem that ensued, many lives have been lost, a number of public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalized.”