GOVERNORS ASK IGP TO FISH OUT AND PROSECUTE POLICEMEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH, ABUSE OR HARASSMENT OF INNOCENT CITIZENS
Governors of the 36 States of the federation have ordered the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, to fish out the policemen responsible for the death of innocent citizens and make them face the wrath of the law.
The Governors made the decision during a virtual meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) held on Wednesday, October 14.
In a communique released on Thursday, the Governors stated 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.”
The Governors said true reform would only begin if the policemen responsible for the harassment and extortion of citizens are identified and brought to book.
Nigerian youths across the country took to the streets in protests against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS, notorious for police brutality, extortion and unlawful incarceration.
Although the Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu on Sunday announced that the SARS unit has been disbanded and would be replaced with Special Weapon and Tactics team (SWAT), the youths have not stopped protesting, insisting that they want a thorough police reform and not mere window dressing.
Reacting to this, the Governors said the newly formed SWAT unit came at the wrong time.
“Even though the effort might be necessary and in good faith, 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,” the communique read.
At least 10 protesters have been killed in the protests, while other sustained injuries, according to a report by Amnesty Nigeria.
The 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;
Speaking further, the State heads emphasized that reforms must include the training and retraining of operatives on the rules of engagement with the general public.
Recall that the IGP had ordered all SARS operative to return to the Force Headquarters in Abuja for debriefing and psychological evaluation sequel to the dissolution of the unit.
The Governors also demanded 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, which are some of the demands of the protesters.
“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”
The Governors resolved 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.
“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," the NGF added.
The NGF enjoined the IGP to be ready to work hand in hand with State Governments and the civil society to improve civil relations between the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Public.
They also noted that the demand of the people is beyond a need for Police/FSARSreforms but included a demand for better governance.