President Muhammadu Buhari has assured disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was only a first step to a wholesome reformation of the Force.
The President, who spoke at the State House on Monday, during launch of the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme (P-YES), also said he had ordered an immediate investigation of the circumstances surrounding the killing Isiaka Jimoh, one of the #EndSARS protesters, who was shot dead in Ogbomosho, Oyo on Saturday.
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, on Sunday, ordered the immediate disbandment of SARS unit following escalating protests across the country.
While regretting the unfortunate incident in Ogbomosho, the President also directed all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts be brought to justice.
He, however, reminded Nigerians the larger part of the Police Force is made up of people of carrying out their duties diligently, warning the few bad eggs in the Force should not be allowed to tarnish the reputation of the entire force.
”I will like to use this opportunity to say a word on the recent genuine concerns and agitations by Nigerians about the excessive use of force and in some cases extra-judicial killings and wrongful conduct of the men of the Nigerian Police Force.
”The disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms in order to ensure that the primary duty of the police and other law enforcement agencies remains the protection of lives and livelihood of our people.
”We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts are brought to justice.
”We deeply regret the loss of life of the young man in Oyo State during the recent demonstrations. I have directed that the circumstances of his death should be thoroughly investigated.
”Meanwhile, it is important to recognise that the vast majority of men and women of the police force are hardworking and diligent in performing their duties. The few bad eggs should not be allowed to tarnish the image and reputation of the force”, he said.
On the empowerment programme, the President while restating his administration’s commitment to youth development and poverty alleviation pledged that the Federal Government policies of social protection and people empowerment would continue on track, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.
The President, who described P-YES as a cornerstone of his administration’s social and economic development strategies, said it was part of the overall policy of ensuring that 100 million Nigerians were lifted out of poverty in ten years.
”The P-YES is also part of the plan that we adopted in 2016 in which we empowered One hundred youths from each of the 774 Local Government Areas with the necessary tools to acquire skills and establish small businesses.
”Given the success of that initiative, we are now committed to creating 774,000 jobs across all the LGAs, through the P-YES programme,” he said.
President Buhari, who took a tour of P-YES tools and equipment displayed at the forecourt of Presidential Villa, expressed delight that the materials showcased represent the fruits of the initiatives embarked upon by his administration in 2016.
”All the tools, machines and equipment that are exhibited here, are products of the efforts of these empowered youth entrepreneurs.
”I note with particular pleasure that they were all fabricated in Nigeria by Nigerian youths using locally sourced materials. This is a wonderful and uplifting achievement.
”As an entrepreneurship empowerment project, the P-YES programme aims to address the needs of unskilled and less educated youth.
”It targets key areas of activities that are of practical importance and are essential to every aspect of our economy.
”These include areas such as agriculture and food processing, restaurant and catering, tailoring and fashion design, technical skills such as in the Information and Communications Technology sector, artisanship, welding, carpentry and joinery, other small businesses and activities associated with the micro-economic sector of this economy,” he said.
He urged local and foreign private sector operators in Nigeria to also contribute their share to the expansion of this programme through channelling their corporate social responsibility efforts towards skills acquisition, creation of start-ups, and other intervention measures.
President Buhari declared the expansion of the P-YES would now be vigorously pursued, adding more resources will be committed to the achievement of its goals and objectives towards youth empowerment and entrepreneurship development.