Set up independent body to probe, prosecute indicted SARS personnel, Gbajabiamila tells IGP
•says public agitations already captured in Police reform bill
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Adamu, to set up an independent body that will investigate and prosecute Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) officers found culpable of such violent misconduct and ensuring they are punished according to the law.
Hon. Gbajabiamila who gave the charge while addressing a delegation led by popular Nigerian singer, David Adeleke (Davido), who came on a courtesy visit to convey to the Parliament deep grief of the Nigerian people over Police brutality, reiterated the House resolve to ensure that key reforms are institutionalized within Nigerian Police Force.
The Speaker also recalled that the House had last Wednesday urged the IGP to produce an immediate plan for the identification and compensation for victims of police brutality in the country.
The Speaker said the House identified with the need to reform the police and had taken steps to address the situation, such as the recent Police Reform Act.
“The amended Police Reform Act contains most, if not all, of the grievances and demand Nigerians want to see, including a functioning police complaint unit that should be a liaison between the citizenry and the police, as Nigerians can no longer live in fear of those who are supposed to protect them,” Hon. Gbajabiamila said.
While noting that the House has been at the forefront of addressing the inhuman treatment meted on Nigerians by some of the SARS operatives, the Speaker noted that all the demands relayed have been captured in a motion sponsored by the House Leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, many days before the protests even commenced.
Hon. Gbajabiamila said several resolutions were reached from the motion, some of which had been identified and implemented by the police authorities, such as the demand that the IGP take decisive action to stop the brutality and human rights violation by SARS and report the said actions to the House within three weeks.
The House demanded the setting up of an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of officers found culpable of such violent misconduct and ensuring they are punished according to the law.
He also emphasized the position of the House on the need to have an independent system for monitoring police actions and holding police officers to proper account for failures to follow the law and the police code.
Besides, he restated the determination of the House to legislate on the lasting solutions to the problems of policing in Nigeria.
In support of these efforts, he said, the House will this week meet with the national leadership of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), the Nigerian Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and select civil society organisations to begin joint efforts at developing a legislative proposal.
He assured the delegation of the lawmakers’ total and unwavering allegiance to the sensitivity and needs of the Nigerian people.
Davido had earlier in his remarks expressed the anger of Nigerians towards what they termed government’s insensitivity towards those being governed.
While acknowledging the fact that there are honest and hardworking personnel within the SARS operatives, he said the bad ones have dented the image of the unit beyond the trust of Nigerians.
He recounted his role in the #EndSars protest the day before, stating that the people want to trust, accountability and communication.
On his list of demands, Davido asked for the immediate release of all arrested protesters nationwide during the ‘endsarsnow’ protest, justice for all deceased victims of police brutality over the years and appropriate compensation for their families.