But many protestors and Twitter users accused Buhari and the police authorities of being oblivious to the real reasons for the protests.
A bystander was shot and killed in Ogbomoso in Oyo State, southwest Nigeria, on Saturday by the policemen dispersing #EndSARS protesters.
It was unclear if Jimoh Isiaq was among the young Nigerians protesting against police brutality before he was shot. He was rushed to Bowen University Teaching Hospital where he died while receiving treatment.
But pictures shared on Twitter showed him standing by the roadside, many metres away from the policemen. He was unarmed.
His bloodied corpse has since been buried.
Protests began earlier in the week in different parts of Nigeria over continued harassment of young people by the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad – SARS. The protestors are demanding the disbandment of the unit.
Members of the squad have been accused of crimes such as extrajudicial killings, kidnapping, extortion and intimidation.
The Nigerian Government had promised on multiple occasions to reform SARS and make the squad more accountable.
But the promises have been nothing but empty chatters.
The inspector-general of police Mohammed Adamu last Sunday banned the unit from setting up roadblocks and from conducting stop and search after a groundswell of criticisms.
Days after protests began in different parts of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari insisted that ” vast majority of men and women of the Nigeria Police Force are patriotic and committed to protecting the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians.”
“The bad stories are too much,” rapper Ruggedman and leading #EndSARS campaigner said on Twitter on Friday. “The trauma, the loss of property and lives for doing nothing wrong.”
A 2016 report by Amnesty International indicates that persons detained by SARS, both men and women, “are subjected to various methods of torture and ill-treatment in order to extract information and ‘confessions’. Such methods include severe beating, hanging, starvation, shooting in the legs, mock executions and threats of execution.”
In a similar report published in June 2020, Amnesty said “torture is a routine and systemic part of police investigation in SARS; that many SARS stations use designated ‘torture chambers’ – special interrogation rooms commonly used for torturing suspects.”