Daily Trust

Na­tional Eco­nomic Coun­cil probes po­lice bru­tal­ity

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of In­quiry across the coun­try to re­ceive and in­ves­ti­gate com­plaints of po­lice bru­tal­ity or re­lated ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings with a view to de­liv­er­ing jus­tice for all vic­tims of the dis­solved FSARS and other po­lice units.

The pan­els would in­clude rep­re­sen­ta­tives of youths, stu­dents, Civil So­ci­ety Or­ga­ni­za­tions (CSOs) and would be chaired by a re­spected re­tired State High Court judge.

The NEC said the idea of the com­mit­tee in all states of the fed­er­a­tion and the FCT is to en­sure that po­lice for­ma­tion and other se­cu­rity agen­cies con­sis­tently pro­tect the hu­man rights of cit­i­zens.

The coun­cil also specif­i­cally agreed that state gov­er­nors and the FCT min­is­ter should take charge of in­ter­face and con­tact with pro­test­ers in their re­spec­tive do­mains.

The terms of ref­er­ence for the Ju­di­cial

The panel is to re­ceive and in­ves­ti­gate com­plaints of po­lice bru­tal­ity or re­lated ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings; eval­u­ate the ev­i­dence pre­sented/other sur­round­ing cir­cum­stances, and draw con­clu­sions as to the va­lid­ity of the com­plaints; and rec­om­mend com­pen­sa­tion and other re­me­dial mea­sures, where ap­pro­pri­ate.

The NEC said the panel’s as­sign­ment should be con­cluded within a max­i­mum of six months, un­less it showed con­vinc­ing rea­sons why the state gover­nor should al­low an ex­ten­sion.

The NEC also di­rected all state gov­er­nors to im­me­di­ately es­tab­lish a Vic­tims Fund to en­able the pay­ment of mone­tary com­pen­sa­tion to de­serv­ing vic­tims.

Gov­er­nors worry over FSARS ban

While the re­solve by the Na­tional Eco­nomic Coun­cil (NEC) to ap­proach the on­go­ing protests and other ag­i­ta­tions by Nige­ri­ans sur­faced last night, gov­er­nors of the 36 states of the fed­er­a­tion had ear­lier in the day ex­pressed con­cern over the FSARS).

The gov­er­nors ex­pressed con­cern af­ter re­ceiv­ing a brief­ing from the In­spec­tor-Gen­eral of Po­lice (IGP), Mo­hammed Adamu, on protests against the dis­banded FSARS, which they said tech­ni­cally started in 2017.

Separately, gov­er­nors of the 19 north­ern states openly op­posed the dis­band­ment of FSARS, which they said had played a key role in sus­tain­ing peace in the re­gion.

The Chair­man of the North­ern Gov­er­nors Fo­rum and Gover­nor of Plateau State, Si­mon La­long, an­nounced their po­si­tion while field­ing ques­tions from State House re­porters af­ter meet­ing Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari.

Daily Trust re­ports that IGF Adamu had on Sun­day scrapped FSARS and re­placed it with the Spe­cial Weapons and Tac­tics Team (SWAT).

The IGP said mem­bers of the SWAT team would un­dergo a psy­cho­log­i­cal and med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion to as­cer­tain their fit­ness and el­i­gi­bil­ity, say­ing they would be­gin train­ing at dif­fer­ent po­lice tac­ti­cal train­ing in­sti­tu­tions next week.

How­ever, the ac­tion did not as­suage mil­lions of pro­test­ers who have con­tin­ued to flood the streets across Nige­ria on the grounds that the SWAT would also be pop­u­lated by op­er­a­tives of the dis­banded FSARS.

On Wed­nes­day, the Force Head­quar­ters said in a se­ries of Tweets that no former op­er­a­tive of the dis­banded FSARS will be part of the newly es­tab­lished SWAT.

Gov­er­nors’ take on dis­banded FSARS

The Chair­man of the Nige­rian Gov­er­nors Fo­rum (NGF) and Gover­nor of Ek­iti State, Kay­ode Fayemi, in a com­mu­niqué is­sued on Wed­nes­day but re­leased yes­ter­day at the end of their 19th tele­con­fer­ence meet­ing, ac­knowl­edged the need to ad­dress the ex­cesses of FSARS.

Fayemi par­tic­u­larly noted the con­cerns of many Nige­ri­ans es­pe­cially youths on the mat­ter.

He, how­ever, said that mem­bers of the fo­rum had high­lighted ef­forts of FSARS op­er­a­tives in their states, say­ing they had as­sisted in con­tain­ing the in­creas­ing spate of kid­nap­ping, armed rob­bery, cat­tle rustling, and other high­end crimes par­tic­u­larly in the north­ern states.

Why north­ern govs have in­ter­est in FSARS

Gover­nor La­long had while speak­ing to jour­nal­ists yes­ter­day jus­ti­fied why they op­posed the dis­band­ment of FSARS.

He said rather than scrap­ping the out­fit, what was needed is the re­for­ma­tion of the unit to en­able it to dis­charge its func­tions op­ti­mally.

Ac­cord­ing to him, SARS was not made up of only bad el­e­ments say­ing it also had per­son­nel who were do­ing their work dili­gently.

He cau­tioned that the “baby should not be thrown away with the bath­wa­ter as the po­lice unit had been use­ful in the fight against in­se­cu­rity in the north.”

We’ll con­sult, re­ply north­ern govs - South-south govs

Daily Trust re­ports that while the north­ern gov­er­nors frowned at the scrap­ping of FSARS, and the Nige­rian Gov­er­nors Fo­rum said what was needed was a re­form, gov­er­nors of the South­South said they were study­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

Mr. Olisa Ifea­jika, the Chief Press Sec­re­tary of Delta State Gover­nor and Chair­man of the South-South Gov­er­nors Fo­rum, Sen­a­tor Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, said his prin­ci­pal will re­spond to the state­ment cred­ited to the Chair­man of the North­ern Gov­er­nors Fo­rum, Si­mon La­long.

Ac­cord­ing to him, Okowa would con­sult with gov­er­nors of the South-South be­fore mak­ing a pol­icy state­ment on the “vexed is­sue.”

FG warns pro­test­ers

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day warned the #EndSARS pro­test­ers to be mind­ful of the risk for COVID-19 in­fec­tion due to the man­ner of their en­gage­ment that de­fies the virus pro­tec­tion guide­lines. The Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral, Nige­ria Cen­tre for Dis­ease Con­trol (NCDC), Dr Chike Ihek­weazu gave the warn­ing at the joint na­tional brief­ing of the Pres­i­den­tial Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Thurs­day in Abuja.

Ihek­weazu said, “The num­ber of new cases we will have will be de­ter­mined by our own be­hav­iour and the cir­cum­stances that we find our­selves.

“You can see some of the demon­stra­tions hap­pen­ing across the coun­try. The virus doesn’t know whether you are young or old, po­lice­man or a demon­stra­tor; it uses the op­por­tu­nity to jump from per­sons to per­sons,” he said.

Some ob­servers said the FG and se­cu­rity agen­cies were only us­ing the COVID-19 as an al­ibi to rep­ri­mand demon­stra­tors con­sid­er­ing the back­lash it will face in the event they out­rightly use force to stop them from tak­ing to the streets.

The claim fol­lowed the de­ci­sion of the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FCTA), which banned street demon­stra­tions by the #EndSARS protests.

A state­ment by the FCTA’s Se­cu­rity com­mit­tee a meet­ing chaired by the FCT Min­is­ter, Muhammed Bello agreed to ban all protests in the cap­i­tal city.

How­ever, IGP Adamu yes­ter­day warned all po­lice of­fi­cers across the coun­try against the use of force on peace­ful pro­test­ers.

In a state­ment signed by Force Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cers, DCP Frank Mba, the IGP stated that cit­i­zens have fun­da­men­tal rights of free­dom of ex­pres­sion, assem­bly and move­ment, which must al­ways be up­held and pro­tected by the po­lice.

He said that the IGP stressed that the force lead­er­ship had clearly heard the voice of the peo­ple and was “ir­re­vo­ca­bly com­mit­ted to do­ing ev­ery­thing within its pow­ers to ad­dress the ob­served ills, pun­ish any of­fend­ing of­fi­cers and pro­mote a peo­ple-friendly po­lice force.”

Pro­test­ers defy ban, storm N/ Assem­bly

De­spite the ban in the FCT, the #EndSARS pro­test­ers yes­ter­day stormed the Na­tional Assem­bly.

The pro­test­ers who had been camp­ing at the Berger Round­about yes­ter­day moved to the Three Arms Zone in Abuja and blocked the Shehu Sha­gari

Way.

Se­nate Pres­i­dent Ah­mad Lawan asked the #EndSARS pro­test­ers to halt demon­stra­tions across the coun­try.

He also urged the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to ex­pe­dite ac­tion on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of all the five de­mands of the demon­stra­tors.

He stated this in his re­marks af­ter the Se­nate Leader, Sen­a­tor Ya­haya Ab­dul­lahi, briefed the ple­nary on the out­come of their meet­ing with #EndSARS pro­test­ers who blocked the Na­tional Assem­bly en­trance.

Army tags pro­test­ers el­e­ments’ #ENDSARS ‘sub­ver­sive

On its part, the Nige­rian Army has vowed that it will de­fend Nige­ria from any at­tempt to sub­vert the na­tion’s democ­racy.

In a state­ment signed by the Act­ing Di­rec­tor, Army Pub­lic Re­la­tions, Colonel Sa­gir Musa, the Army warned all ‘sub­ver­sive el­e­ments’ and trou­ble mak­ers to de­sist from any act that will dis­rupt pub­lic peace and or­der.

“The NA hereby warns all sub­ver­sive el­e­ments and trou­ble mak­ers to de­sist from such acts as it re­mains highly com­mit­ted to de­fend­ing the coun­try and her democ­racy at all cost,” he stated.

Speak­ing in the same di­rec­tion, the Co­or­di­na­tor, De­fence Me­dia Op­er­a­tions Ma­jor Gen­eral, John Enenche, said that the ‘sub­ver­sive el­e­ments’ were the thugs who came out to at­tack the pro­test­ers.

North­ern youths at­tacked in Kano as protests rage in states

Armed thugs in Kano yes­ter­day dis­rupted the pro­ces­sion or­gan­ised by the Coali­tion of North­ern Groups (CNG) against in­se­cu­rity in north­ern Nige­ria.

The protest march, which was sup­posed to start at two main points to ter­mi­nate at Ko­far Nas­sarawa was forced to end few yards away from its start­ing point at BUK Old site af­ter the group of pro­test­ers were at­tacked by un­known hood­lums at Ko­far Famfo.

No fewer than forty per­sons were said to have been in­jured in the at­tack.

Con­ven­ers of the protest told news­men that the at­tack­ers dis­guised as sup­port­ers by dis­tribut­ing sa­chet wa­ter to those that gath­ered for the pro­ces­sion be­fore they struck with dan­ger­ous weapons.

Jus­ti­fy­ing why they took to the streets, CNG’s Data Of­fi­cer, Dr Mo­hammed Bello Nawaila said

“Safety and se­cu­rity of Nige­ri­ans is the num­ber one re­spon­si­bil­ity of the pres­i­dent” adding, “he must do all that is re­quired to guar­an­tee the safety of Nige­ri­ans.”

Ac­cord­ing to him, “Our mes­sage to the pres­i­dent is that he should lis­ten to us. We are hu­mans and Nige­ri­ans; we have a right. If some peo­ple can march and say end SARS and SARS could be ended, why can’t he stop in­se­cu­rity in north­ern Nige­ria?” he asked.

The Gombe State chap­ter CNG also yes­ter­day staged a peace­ful protest. In Ji­gawa, a coali­tion of hu­man and civil rights ac­tivists held a peace­ful protest call­ing for the re­ac­ti­va­tion of the FSARS by the po­lice high com­mand, de­scrib­ing the scrap­ping of the out­fit as ill-in­formed.

In Kaduna, the NCG mem­bers stormed the state House of Assem­bly protest­ing over the ris­ing in­se­cu­rity in the re­gion.

The youths called on au­thor­i­ties to end Boko Haram, kid­nap­ping and ban­ditry across the re­gion.

The pro­test­ers dis­played plac­ards that read ‘Arewa is bleed­ing’, ‘End in­se­cu­rity now,’ ‘End ban­ditry now,’ and ‘End kid­nap­ping now’.

In Jos, the Plateau State cap­i­tal, youths in their num­bers blocked the pop­u­lar Yakubu Gowon Way in protest.

Daily Trust re­ports the po­lice fired shots in the air and tear­gas in or­der to dis­perse the pro­test­ers.

SERAP sues FG

The So­cio-Eco­nomic Rights and Ac­count­abil­ity Project (SERAP) yes­ter­day filed a law­suit against Pres­i­dent Buhari and IGP Adamu “over on­go­ing in­tim­i­da­tion, ha­rass­ment and at­tacks on peace­ful pro­test­ers cam­paign­ing against po­lice bru­tal­ity and cor­rup­tion across the coun­try.”

Joined as re­spon­dents in the suit are the At­tor­ney - Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion and Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Abubakar Malami and the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice in Lagos State, Ha­keem Odu­mosu.

SERAP said the right to protest con­sti­tutes the very foun­da­tion of a sys­tem of par­tic­i­pa­tory gov­er­nance based on democ­racy, hu­man rights, the rule of law and plu­ral­ism. Fail­ure to re­spect and en­sure the right to peace­ful protest is typ­i­cally a marker of re­pres­sion.

It also asked the court to di­rect the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and Nige­ria Po­lice Force to im­me­di­ately iden­tify all vic­tims of po­lice bru­tal­ity dur­ing the protests and ad­e­quately com­pen­sate each of the vic­tims (and their fam­i­lies) by pay­ing each the sum of N200 mil­lion.

No date has been fixed for the hear­ing of the suit.

Con­tri­bu­tions by Muideen Olaniyi, Ab­bas Ji­moh, Terkula Igidi, Ab­dul­la­teef Salau, Mau­reen Onochie (Abuja), Us­man A. Bello (Benin), Habibu Umar Aminu & Richard P. Ng­bokai (Kano), Haruna Gimba Yaya (Gombe), Mo­hammed Abubakar (Dutse), Ade­lanwa Bamg­boye (Lagos), Mo­hammed Yaba (Kaduna) & Ado Abubakar Musa (Jos)

 ??  ?? Gover­nor Baba­jide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, an­nounces the con­sti­tu­tion of a seven-man Ju­di­cial Panel of En­quiry and Resti­tu­tion to in­ves­ti­gate cases of bru­tal­ity and hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions com­mit­ted by op­er­a­tives of the dis­solved Spe­cial Anti-Rob­bery Squad, dur­ing live ad­dress at the State House in Ma­rina, Lagos yes­ter­day
Gover­nor Baba­jide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, an­nounces the con­sti­tu­tion of a seven-man Ju­di­cial Panel of En­quiry and Resti­tu­tion to in­ves­ti­gate cases of bru­tal­ity and hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions com­mit­ted by op­er­a­tives of the dis­solved Spe­cial Anti-Rob­bery Squad, dur­ing live ad­dress at the State House in Ma­rina, Lagos yes­ter­day

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