Police Must Punish SARS Operatives Involved IN Murder of Innocent Nigerian Youths – Gbajabiamila
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to ensure officers of the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) who are involved in human rights abuses are punished.
“The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) must act to identify and punish those operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) involved in the most severe cases of abuse of rights, brutality, and murder of Nigerian citizens,” the Speaker was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Lanre Lasisi on Sunday.
“These steps are necessary to assure the Nigerian people that the announced dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is sincere and well-intentioned, and not merely meant to quell the ongoing protests across the country”.
Gbajabiamila made the call a few hours after the IGP announced that the infamous police unit had been dissolved, in reaction to widespread protests by Nigerians who called for him to do just that.
The Speaker considers the dissolution of SARS a “necessary response” by the government and he commended the IGP and President Muhammadu Buhari for heeding the people’s demand about the unit, which has gained notoriety over the years for extortion, brutality, and other forms of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings.
He also believes that the development and the broader, ongoing reforms of the police that will follow, are a testament to the passion and resilience of a generation of Nigerians who determined not to accept or tolerate injustice in whatever form it takes.
While the protests were ongoing, there were still pockets of harassment, violence, and even the killing of a young man, Jimoh Isiaq in Ogbomoso.
Expressing his displeasure over these, Gbajabiamila noted that there is now a pressing need to have an independent system for monitoring the actions of the police.
As part of support, he had last week, promised to meet with the Nigerian Bar Association and members of civil society groups among others, to ensure that structural reforms and policies are put in place to end the years-long menace.
Read the full statement below.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for listening to the call by Nigerians to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
According to a statement by his spokesman, Lanre Lasisi, Gbajabiamila said the dissolution of the unit of the police was a necessary response by the government to the outcry arising from their multiple documented excesses across the country.
The Speaker also commended Nigerians, particularly the millions of young people at home and abroad, who saw a wrong and sought to make it right, who saw injustice and acted to put an end to it.
According to him, the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), and the broader, ongoing reforms of the police that will follow, are a testament to the passion and resilience of a generation of Nigerians who determined not to accept or tolerate injustice in whatever form it takes.
The Speaker also called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar Adamu to take practical steps to support and enforce this policy pronouncement.
“These steps are necessary to assure the Nigerian people that the announced dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is sincere and well-intentioned, and not merely meant to quell the ongoing protests across the country.
“The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) must also act to identify and punish those operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) involved in the most severe cases of abuse of rights, brutality and murder of Nigerian citizens.”
Gbajabiamila noted with displeasure the police’s manhandling of the some protesters, who came out in numbers to protest peacefully.
The Speaker wishes to assure all Nigerians that the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) will not preclude the ongoing efforts by the House of Representatives to effect reforms of the police through legislation.
“There is still a pressing 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. The House will continue its work to legislate lasting solutions to the problems of policing in Nigeria.”
In support of these efforts, 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.
“Whatever legislation emerges from this collaboration will be presented to the House within the 30-day timeline announced by Speaker Gbajabiamila at the special session of the House of Representatives on Wednesday 7th October 2020.”
The House had on Wednesday rose against the brutality of SARS officers, passing some vital resolutions on the matter and demanded the IGP to take decisive action against the brutality and human rights violation by SARS officers and report the said action to the Green Chamber within three weeks.
The lawmakers also requested the police chief to produce a comprehensive record of disciplinary and/or judicial action taken against the officers accused of abuse of power in the past five years.
Equally rising from the resolutions, the House asked the IGP to produce an immediate plan for identifying and compensating the victims of the brutality and abuses.
With regards to reforming the police, the House resolved to take immediate steps to amend existing laws and the 1999 Constitution to excise Section 215 (5) and replace it with provisions that ensure judicial review of police actions are enshrined and protected by the constitution.
Furthermore, the House resolved to establish a framework for holding individual members of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) accountable for their conduct in the course of performing their lawful duties, including criminal and civil liabilities.
It was equally resolved that the Nigeria Police Force would be allowed to bear civil liability for failures in their conduct and operational procedures that lead to violations of citizens’ rights.