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HomeNIGERIACreation of SWAT hasty, governors tell IG Adamu

Creation of SWAT hasty, governors tell IG Adamu

The creation of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team as replacement for the scrapped Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is hasty, governors said on Thursday.

They urged Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu to “immediately convene a meeting of all stakeholders”.

The governors made their position known on the raging protests across the country against the brutality by operatives of the defunct SARS, in a communiqué released after the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) meeting. The meeting was held on Wednesday in Abuja.

The protesters have also rejected the creation of SWAT which they described as SARS incarnate.

But the Inspector-General of Police has assured that no SARS operative will be accommodated in SWAT.

The communiqué, signed by NGF chairman Dr. Kayode Fayemi, confirmed that the IG briefed the meeting on the steps being taken.

Nevertheless, they said: “Even  though  the  creation of SWAT  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;

“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.

“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  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.

The governors called for the prosecution of policemen found to have engaged in extra-judicial killings and other arbitrary conduct. They called for compensation for victims of police brutality.

“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.

The communiqué added: “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.

“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.

“Members also  agreed  that  the  concerns  of  the  public  went  beyond  a  need  for  Police/FSARS reforms  and  included  a  demand  for  better  governance.

“They  noted  the  need  to  engage, consult  the  public  and  take  decisions  that  address  the  underpinning  issues  leading  to  the protests;

“Members  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;

“Members  praised  Mr.  President  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.”

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