…Seek compensation for the dead, injured Nigerians
By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
Governors of the thirty-six states of the federation have declared 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.
The Governors equally maintained that all Nigerians who have been adversely affected by police brutality or other actions that were injurious to them or their loved ones, should be compensated
These were part of the highlights of the communique issued at the end of the teleconference meeting of Nigeria Governors’ Forum and signed by its Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi in Abuja.
The Governors, who who received briefings from the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mr Mohammed Adamu on protests against SARS ( Special Anti-Robbery Squad), harped on the need for each State 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 panel, according to the them, must be systematically done to ensure that nobody who deserves to be compensated, is left out;
Already, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum has 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;
The Governors stated that they 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
They 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 same in order to incentivize and motivate police officers who have pledged themselves in service of the country
The 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.
They equally agreed that the concerns of the public went beyond a need for Police/FSARS reforms and included a demand for better governance
The Governors noted the need to engage, consult the public and take decisions that will address the underpinning issues leading to the present protests;
The NGF noted that some States had already started the process of engaging protesters and urged all States to engage all stakeholders for a collectively agreed resolution;
The Governors praised President Muhammadu Buhari who has acknowledged that the protests and demonstrations reflect genuine concerns of many Nigerians and urged for a speedy implementation of all the agreed points.
The communique by the NGF reads in part, “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.”