The speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila on Tuesday reiterated the lawmakers’ resolve to effect key reforms in the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).
He also disclosed the House had urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, to produce an immediate plan for the identification and compensation for victims of police brutality in the country.
According to his Spokesman, Mr Lanre Lasisi, the Speaker said this when he received a delegation led by popular Nigerian singer, David Adeleke (Davido), who came on a courtesy visit to convey to the National Assembly, the grief of victims of police brutality.
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,” he said.
According to him, “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, Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, many days before the protests even commenced”.
Gbajabiamila, according to the statement 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, according to the statement, also ” 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 emphasised 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”.
He pledged that 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”, as 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 most Nigerians, which according to him, were angered by government’s insensitivity and indifference towards the people.
Though, the statement noted he acknowledged “there are honest and hardworking personnel within the SARS operatives”, he however added that ” 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 trust, accountability and communication.
On his list of demands, according to the statement, “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”.
Minister Affirms Nigeria Air Will Take Off April 2022
Nigeria’s national carrier, Nigeria Air, will take off by April 2022, Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, said on Wednesday.
The minister announced the take-off date while briefing state house correspondents after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja.
He said the national carrier will be run by a company in which the Nigerian government will hold a five percent stake while Nigerian entrepreneurs will hold 46 percent.
He said the remaining 49 percent will be reserved for yet to be assigned strategic equity partners, including foreign investors.
Sirika said the national carrier, when operational, will create about 70,000 jobs for Nigerians.
#EndSARS: Panel Affirmed Nine Killed, Four Missing, 24 Injured At Lekki Toll Gate
No fewer than nine #EndSARS protesters were killed at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020.
This was contained in the report of the reports submitted by the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters obtained by our correspondent on Monday.
According to the report, nine protesters were confirmed dead while four were presumed dead.
The report listed 48 names as those who were casualties of the Lekki incident of October 20, 2020.
Among the 48 casualties listed, 24 sustained gunshot injuries, while 15 others were assaulted by soldiers and police.
The panel also noted that 96 other corpses were presented by a Forensic Pathologist of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Professor John Obafunwa.
According to the 309-page report, the protesters were killed by suspected policemen and soldiers.
Part of the report read, ” The evidence before the panel shows that after the Nigerian Army left, Nigeria Police Force, followed up with the killing of the protesters, shooting directly at fleeing
protesters into the shanties and the Lagoon at the Lekki Phase 1 Foreshore, close to the Lekki Toll Gate, floating corpse and one shot close to Serah Ibrahim.
“Several unidentified bodies were removed by security agencies and LASEHMU (Lagos State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit) and deposited at various hospital mortuaries in Lagos State.
“Three trucks with brushes underneath were brought to the Lekki Toll Gate in the morning of October 21st October, 2020 to clean up the scene of bloodstains and other evidence.
“The testimony and report of Professor John Obafunwa, a Forensic Pathologist of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, showed that three corpses were deposited at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba Hospital, all from the Lekki Toll Gate and the autopsy conducted thereon revealed death from bleeding caused by penetrating objects or rifled weapon.
“The Panel finds that the fact of lack of identity of some of the other 96 corpses on the list supplied by Professor Obafunwa would not obliterate the fact that some of them could have come from the Lekki Toll Gate Incident of October 20, 2020, or that some other unidentified corpses may have been removed by their families or the military, as claimed by the EndSARS protesters, far and beyond the list tendered by Professor Obafunwa.”
The panel was inaugurated on October 19, 2020, to look into complaints of citizens against human rights abuses by the police.
Following the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, the terms of reference of the Panel were expanded to cover that incident.
The panel sat for over one year, listening to testimonies of petitioners, witnesses, experts, and lawyers.
The panel treated 235 petitions and awarded N410 million to 70 victims.
Lagos #EndSARS Panel Submits Report
The Lagos judicial panel on police brutality submitted its report on Monday to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the government house, Ikeja, Lagos.
The panel submitted two sets of reports — a consolidated report on police brutality cases and the Lekki incident investigation.
On October 19, 2020, as part of recommendations put forward during the #EndSARS protests, the Lagos government inaugurated the judicial panel to investigate petitions on police brutality in the state.
Speaking after receiving the report, Sanwo-Olu said it is the beginning of the “difficult process of proper reconciliation and restitution”.
The governor commended members of the panel for the work done, adding that posterity will be kind to them.
He said the report will be submitted to the national economic council (NEC), adding that “proper response” will be accorded to the recommendations.
Sanwo-Olu also constituted a four-member committee headed by Moyosore Onigbanjo, the state’s attorney-general, to come up with a white paper on the panel’s recommendations within the next two weeks.
“I’m believing and trusting that this process will help us start the very difficult process of proper reconciliation, restitution, bringing together of anyone that must have been one form or the other being affected,” he said.
“By either the police or any of our citizens that must have been wronged by one form or the other, the process of healing, I imagine, with the submission of this panel report, will start that process.”
The sitting was initially meant to last for six months but the period of proceedings stretched into one year.
The panel concluded its sitting on October 18, 2021, and said its findings and recommendations would be submitted to the state government.
Doris Okuwobi, chairperson of the panel, had said 186 of the 252 petitions submitted were deliberated upon.
According to an infographic released by the panel, the sum of N409.7 million was awarded to 70 petitioners.
However, the decision of the panel not to disclose its report on the Lekki shooting incident did not go down well with many Nigerians, including lawyers representing #EndSARS protesters.