The 36 state governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) have thrown their weights behind the scrapping of the notorious Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, following instructions from President Muhammadu Buhari.
The governors, who unanimously supported the Inspector General of Police for disbanding SARS, however, endorsed plans by the police top echelon to carry out far-reaching reforms geared towards greater effectiveness, accountability and transparency, just as they called for increased regularity in the meetings of the Nigeria Police Council in order for it to effectively carry out its regulatory and supervisory roles in line with the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The governors also stressed that policing in Nigeria must ensure freedom for all Nigerians to carry out their lawful and legitimate businesses anywhere in the country without fear of harassment, intimidation or molestation.
According to the governors, the IGP must as a matter of urgency, fish out all police officers who participated in the abuse or actions that might have led to injury or the death of innocent citizens, with a view to bringing them to book and that other Nigerians who have been adversely affected by police brutality or other actions that were injurious to them or their loved ones, should be compensated.
They resolved that each State will set up a panel for compensation to all victims and see to it that the necessary compensation is made to those who deserve them.
Rising from the 19th Teleconference Meeting, the governors, however, kicked against the establishment of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team, arguing that the timing was inauspicious against the backdrop that the mood of the nation negates it, and may understandably be misinterpreted as a surreptitious move to dress FSARS in another garb.
In a communique signed by the NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the governors have called on the IGP to as matter of urgency, convene a meeting of all stakeholders and agree on a format of engagement with all state officials in order to address concerns.
They have also resolved that state leadership should meet simultaneously nationwide, to address matters arising, even as they emphasized that reforms must include the training and retraining of operatives on the rules of engagement with the general public, adding that throughout the reform process, the room for consultation may include sessions and direct feedback from the public, stressing that there is no single solution that applies to all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
The communique read, “Governors were unanimous in their support for the IGP and endorsed his plan to carry out far-reaching reforms geared towards greater effectiveness, accountability and transparency.
“Members called for increased regularity in the meetings of the Nigeria Police Council in order for it to effectively carry out its regulatory and supervisory roles as contained in the Nigerian Constitution.
“On the IGP’s plan to create SWAT, governors stated that even though the effort might be necessary and in good faith, they argued that the timing is inauspicious as the mood of the nation negates it and may understandably be misinterpreted as a surreptitious move to dress FSARS in another garb.
“Governors agreed that there was need for greater consultation with the public before any decision is taken.
“Governors advised the IGP to immediately convene a meeting of all stakeholders and agree on a format of engagement with all state officials in order to address concerns; and that state leadership should meet simultaneously nationwide, to address matters arising.
“Governors emphasized that reforms must include the training and retraining of operatives on the rules of engagement with the general public.
“Policing in Nigeria must ensure freedom for all Nigerians to carry out their lawful and legitimate businesses anywhere in the country without fear of harassment, intimidation or molestation.
“Governors advised that throughout the reform process, the room for consultation may include sessions and direct feedback from the public, stressing that there is no single solution that applies to all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
“Governors were unequivocal that all police officers who participated in the abuse or actions that might have led to injury or the death of innocent citizens must be fished out and brought to book while other Nigerians who have been adversely affected by police brutality or other actions that were injurious to them or their loved ones, should be compensated.
“Each state is to set up a panel for compensation to all victims and see to it that the necessary compensation is made to those who deserve them. This must be systematically done to ensure that nobody, who deserves to be compensated, is left out.
“The forum directed its Secretariat to work with the police authority to develop a framework for setting up a panel of enquiry across all states to determine claims and compensation.
“Governors are aware that some states have already started engaging protesters, and urged all states that have not commenced same to invite all stakeholders in the matter to resolve these issues.
“Members also recommended that the IGP, the Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Council should immediately review the Remuneration and Emoluments of police officers and explore ways to fund this in order to incentivize and motivate police officers who have pledged themselves in service of the country.
“Governors enjoined the IGP to be ready to forge stronger partnerships with State governments and the civil society to improve civil relations between the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Public.”
The governors had in a statement, last Tuesday, summoned the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, to a meeting, yesterday, to brief the State Chief Security Officers on protests against SARS which technically started since 2017.
Wike Inaugurates Judicial Panel To Investigate Rights Abuses By F-SARS
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has inaugurated a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate acts of brutality and violation of fundamental human rights perpetrated by operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the state.
The commission, with members drawn from Nigerian Bar Association, FIDA, youth, civil society, women and religious groups, is expected to submit its report 60 days from the date of its first sitting.
Wike, at the inauguration ceremony at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, explained that the commission was set up in exercise of powers conferred on him by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the provisions of Section 2(1) of the Commission of Inquiry Law of Rivers State (Cap 30) Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.
Present at inauguration ceremony were the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Zacchaeus Adangor; the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo; Commissioner of Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, among others.
The governor charged the commission to ascertain whether any of the officers, men and operatives of the police, particularly, F-SARS involved in alleged acts of violence, torture, brutality, murder, violation of fundamental human rights or other atrocities in Rivers State was sponsored, counselled and procured by any person, group of persons, or officer of Rivers State government by whatever designation.
He said the commission was expected to identify persons or group of persons who counselled, procured and sponsored alleged acts of violence and violation of human rights of citizens committed by personnel of F-SARS in the state.
Wike tasked the commission to identify the victims of the said alleged acts of atrocities committed by officers and men of F-SARS.
He tasked the commission to ascertain the motive if any of the officers and operatives of F-SARS, who committed or participated in the commission of the alleged acts of torture, murder, brutality and violation of rights that occurred in Rivers State.
In addition, the governor directed the commission to ascertain whether any of the victims of the alleged acts of violence by F-SARS was being held in detention or custody and the identify of such victim as well as place of detention.
The commission was enjoined to make appropriate recommendations to the government on measures and means of preventing the occurrence of such acts of violence and violation of rights perpetrated by operatives of F-SARS, and how they can be held accountable for such acts.
“Recommend appropriate sanctions, punishment or other penalties to be imposed on the perpetrators of the said acts of violence, torture, murder, and violation of fundamental rights and/or other atrocities that occurred in Rivers State”, Wike said.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the commission, Justice Chukwunenye I. Uriri (rtd) lauded the governor for the privilege to serve the state.
He assured the governor that the commission would discharge its duties with clear conscience and within the limits of the law.
Other members of the commission are: Mrs Florence Amiesimaka (FIDA); Tonye Ibisiki, Esq, (Nigerian Bar Association); Karl Chinedu Uchegbu (civil society); Chijioke Ihunwo (youth group); Rev. Richard Opara (religious group); Mrs Bella Ebeku (women group); Dr. George Nwaeke (secretary), and Barrister Somiete Inko-Tariah (counsel to the commission).
US Govt Condemns Use Of Force Against Peaceful Protesters In Nigeria …As AU Seeks Dialogue
The United States Government has condemned the excessive use of force by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government in quelling peaceful #EndSARS protests in parts of the country.
A statement by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, in Washington, D.C., and made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt, yesterday, said that the action by government security agencies failed to meet global best practices of respect for peaceful assembly and the fundament rights of citizens to freely express their discontent over any anti-people policies of the government.
The statement read, “The United States strongly condemns the use of excessive force by military forces who fired at unarmed demonstrators in Lagos, causing death and injury.
“We welcome an immediate investigation into any use of excessive force by members of the security forces.
“Those involved should be held to account in accordance with Nigerian law.
“The right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are essential human rights and core democratic principles.
“We call on the security services to show maximum restraint and respect fundamental rights and for demonstrators to remain peaceful.
“We extend our condolences to the victims of the violence and their families.”
It would be recalled that some security operatives, suspected to be soldiers, had last Tuesday, opened fire on peaceful #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, in Lagos, killing no fewer than 12 persons, in addition to fatalities recorded in Abuja, Abia, Oyo, among others.
Meanwhile, the civil society organ of the African Union, Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), has called on the Federal Government and the protesters to dialogue and peacefully resolve the current impasse in order to prevent further fragmentation of the national fabric.
The Chairperson, Political Affairs Cluster, Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, who this, yesterday, added that Nigeria was an integral part of the African Union.
The AU organ has the mandate to promote the principles and ideals of good governance and human rights in the continent.
According to him, “Nigeria has a significant role to play in the fortification of the founding principles of a people-centered and people-driven African Union as elaborated in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, and other regional and global human rights instruments.”
Abdulai said that ECOSOCC noted with grave concern events unfolding in Nigeria following reports of the use of deadly force by armed military officers against unarmed civilian protesters calling for action by the government of Nigeria to end police brutality under the hashtag #EndSARS.
He added that it is the inalienable responsibility of the government of Nigeria to pursue amicable solutions to disagreements with citizens in the interest of peace and stability in the nation.
The Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), therefore, called for “an urgent de-escalation of the current unrest in Nigeria with a view to protecting the lives of citizens.
“Urge the governing authorities to restore conditions allowing for citizens to peacefully protest and express themselves on issues affecting the safety and well-being of Nigerians; and to do so without fear of retribution, confrontation, or violence that could lead to the loss of life and destruction of property.
“Encourage all parties, including the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and protesting citizens, to come together around the table of dialogue and to act, in good faith, to swiftly and peacefully resolve the current impasse in order to prevent any further fragmentation of the national fabric.
“Urge the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to reinforce and expedite the work of the various committees of inquiry established to look into the issue of police brutality in order to restore the confidence of citizens in the institutions of state.
“Call for a thorough, fair, and independent investigation of reports and video footage appearing to show the shooting of unarmed protesters by uniformed personnel; and to ensure justice for victims and perpetrators alike.”
By: Nelson Chukwudi
We Won’t Allow Anybody To Disrupt Peace Of Nigeria, Buhari Vows
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, vowed not to allow anybody to disrupt the peace of the nation amidst violent protests in the country.
In a nationwide broadcast, Buhari, said that his government respected and would continue to respect all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but that it would not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of the nation.
The president said it had become necessary for him to address the nation having heard from many concerned Nigerians and having concluded a meeting with all the security chiefs.
“I must warn those who have hijacked and misdirected the initial, genuine and well–intended protest of some of our youths in parts of the country, against the excesses of some members of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS),” he warned.
The president said on Monday, October 12, he acknowledged the genuine concerns and agitations of members of the public regarding the excessive use of force by some members of SARS.
He said the choice to demonstrate peacefully was a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined in Section 40 of the Constitution and other enactments; but noted that this right to protest also imposed on the demonstrators the responsibility to respect the rights of other citizens, and the necessity to operate within the law.
Buhari stated that as a democratic government, he listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters and that having accepted them; his government immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.
“On approving the termination of SARS, I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive police reforms. Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.
“The result of this is clear to all observers: human lives have been lost; acts of sexual violence have been reported; two major correctional facilities were attacked and convicts freed; public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalised; the sanctity of the Palace of a Peace Maker, the Oba of Lagos has been violated. So-called protesters have invaded an International Airport and in the process disrupted the travel plans of fellow Nigerians and our visitors.
“All these executed in the name of the #EndSARS protests. I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary. Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country.
“The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour,” he said.
Buhari added: “Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country. We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.
“We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected. But remember that government also has the obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence.”
The president appealed to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful, and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy.
“For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security, and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated. I, therefore, call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions. Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding.
“And I call on all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, and enjoin security agencies to protect lives and properties of all law abiding citizens without doing harm to those they are meant to protect. Let me pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.
“This government respects and will continue to respect all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but it will not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of our nation,” Buhari added.
- Editorial4 days ago
That FG’s Package For Teachers
- Sports4 days ago
Yakubu Gowon Stadium Remains Under Lock-Commissioner
- Health4 days ago
Benefits Of Regular Intake Of Tea
- Nation4 days ago
Miyetti Allah Vows To Expose Hoodlums Disguising As Herdsmen
- Sports4 days ago
Afelokhai Wants Quick Commencement Of NPFL Season
- Business4 days ago
9,009 To Benefit From FG’s Post COVID-19 Grant In Rivers
- Sports4 days ago
Coach Decries COVID-19 Effects On Sports
- Issues4 days ago
Understanding The Enigma Of Epilepsy