The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on October 11, called for punishment to be served on operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) involved in different forms of criminality against citizens.
Gbaja’s call, a response to the disbandment of SARS by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, was contained in a statement by his media aide, Lanre Lasisi.
He insisted, among others, that “The Nigeria Police Force (NPF), must act to identify and punish those operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), involved in the most severe cases of abuse of rights, brutality and murder of Nigerian citizens.”
In Gbaja’s call lies one of the deepest concerns of the aggrieved #EndSARS protesters, and a major reason why they have not stopped agitating despite the disbandment of the notorious police unit.
It also lends weight to the demand for justice by those who had been victims of police brutality.
One thing is for sure, this is not the first time that a call similar to that of Gbaja would be made. On several occasions, owing to the flagrant abuse of the rights of the citizenry and, in some cases, killing of innocent ones by SARS, calls to identify and punish officers involved in such mess had been made but left unattended to.
Indeed, allegations are rife that rather than get sanctioned, some errant operatives or officers simply got elevated or transferred to other locations.
This is why Gbaja’s call demands that greater searchlight be beamed in the area of oversight duties, and a strengthening of the Police Service Commission (PSC) which is responsible for issues of recruitment and discipline in the police.
Gbaja’s recipe gains even more acceptance as different States in the country hurry to set up judicial panels of inquiry as part of efforts to assuage the feelings of some aggrieved citizens.
Whether the various panels will be transparent and not become tools in the hands of politicians is a matter of conjecture. What would matter, however, to Nigerians is that these panels will be used to serve justice and raise the hope that citizens’ rights would also be guaranteed and protected.
Bringing the bad eggs in the SARS unit to book will, no doubt, have a healing effect on the protesting youths and assuage the pent up anger of families whose children or relatives had been victims of varied misconducts of the unit.
Two other stories
NASS MEMORY LANE
“Anyone who has been following the activities of the current National Assembly cannot accuse it of always acceding to the demands of Mr. President (Muhammadu Buhari). That is an uncharitable assertion?”
Answer: See end of post
On October 15, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, averred that the National Assembly would ensure that the demands of #EndSARS protesters made to the Federal Government were implemented.
Lawan gave the assurance during plenary after Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, briefed the lawmakers on the details of the meeting between the Senate delegation and some protesters.
Describing the demands of the protesters as legitimate, Lawan said: “I urge government, and that includes us, that we should push to ensure that those demands of the protesters that the executive side has accepted to implement are implemented as quickly as possible.”
Lawan’s appreciation of the emerging national crisis is timely. His promise of quick implementation of the demands of the protesters is, however, a subject of debate. While Lawan may speak for his team, the same cannot be said of the executive led by a taciturn President Muhammadu Buhari.
Known for his near lackadaisical approach to managing turbulence, Mr President has severally been criticized for leaving things undone until they attain a crisis proportion.
Lawan must, therefore, work assiduously to nudge the leader of his party into applying himself more resourcefully and to appreciate that the country cannot afford Buhari’s snail-speed response to issues.
Next, Lawan must nudge the sleepy president and the ruling party into evolving strategies that will rebuild the trust deficit that has commonly been associated with this administration.
This starts with using their offices to pressurise President Muhammadu Buhari to expedite efforts in implementing the #EndSARS demands.
The Senate, on October 14, rose to checkmate the spate of gas explosions, resulting in unwarranted deaths and destruction of properties across the country.
This was sequel to a motion to investigate recent gas explosions in Lagos West Senatorial District as sponsored by Senator Solomon Adeola Olamilekan.
Reeling out various incidences of gas explosion in Lagos, Olamilekan had said, “Nigerians living and conducting legitimate business in my densely populated senatorial district now live in justifiable fear of not only losing their lives or those of love ones from these frequent explosive fire disasters but also their properties and investments”
Olamilekan’s motion is an important one and must be given the seriousness it deserves, and here is why.
The motion primarily speaks to the celebrated inefficiencies in the country’s crisis management institutions. With many of these practically existing only in names, Nigeria’s lawmakers must query where all the money has gone.
And, where identifiable gaps exist, the lawmakers must pursue necessary legislations and budgetary provisions to effectively empower the first responders in the event of national emergencies.
Herein lies the full import of Olamilekan’s motion. It’s time to implement all the reports of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, and Gas Resources which have been left to gather dust over the years.
Answer: Nkeiruka Onyejocha
Nkeiruka Onyejocha made the statement in an interview published on October 20, 2020. She represents Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Constituency of Abia State in the House of Representatives. Among others, she spoke on the political situation in Abia State, the Buhari-led administration and the future of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
By John Chukwu…
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