Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, has urged the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Muhammad Adamu to always ensure that personnel of security agencies involved in the killing of innocent Nigerians are made to face the full weight of the law.
Lawan gave the directive against the backdrop of a motion considered during plenary yesterday on the “Need to check the culture of arbitrariness and brutality of security operatives to Nigerians” sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC Lagos Central).
The Senate President, while commenting on the recent activities and extrajudicial killings by men of the Special Anti-robbery Squad, SARS called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of those involved.
According to him, any security personnel involved in the killing of innocent Nigerians must be made to face the full weight of the law.
“I think that this is a situation that should be properly investigated. The recent incident should not be swept under the carpet.
“Those involved in the recent incident should be arrested and prosecuted. There are good people in all the security agencies just as there are bad people.
“Scrapping of agencies might not be the right thing to do. Rule of law should be the guiding principle. If anyone does the wrong thing, they must be prepared to face the consequences,” Lawan said.
Earlier, sponsor of the motion, Senator Oluremi Tinubu said that Nigeria, despite being a party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, still records the unabated brutality of Security operatives towards Nigerians.
The lawmaker expressed concern that, “Nigerian youth can no longer move freely for fear that they will be profiled and accused of being ‘yahoo boys’ or fraudsters, merely because they look good, own laptops, iPhones, nice looking cars, or profiled for having dreadlocks and certain hairstyles.
“Only recently, the global and social media was awash with the #EndSARS Campaign and stories of brutality of the men of the Special Anti-Robbery Response Squad.”
Tinubu added that “with more Nigerian youth being involved with software development, fintech and doing more remote jobs in ICT, profiling by Policemen is a major problem.”
She expressed worry that “despite assurances by the Inspector-General of Police in 2015 and 2017 that there would be reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Nigerians are daily, still being abducted and extorted, under duress, with no mechanism in place for complaints and resolution of same.”
Contributing to the motion, Senator Adamu Aliero (APC – Kebbi Central) said, “What is currently going on is a violation of all conventional agreements that Nigeria has signed on fundamental human rights, and even a violation of our constitution. We should not allow this kind of thing to continue.”
On his part, the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege (APC Delta Central) said, “we have a Constitution which guarantees the privacy of our citizens, if nothing else, at least protects them until there’s a warrant for their arrest before they can be searched.
“But now these people have become more like extortionists taking money from people by going into their phones, not because they want to provide law enforcement, but they are looking for ways to force these people to part with money.”
Accordingly, the Senate mandated its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, chaired by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti Central) to investigate human rights abuses by security agencies even as it advised them to establish hotlines to enable Nigerians report abuses by their personnel.
The upper legislative chamber while also mandating the committee, along with that of the Police Affairs, to investigate allegations of extrajudicial executions and make recommendations for reparation, called for the establishment of a Special Bureau Unit to monitor the conducts of officers, arrests and charges erring ones
The Senate while mandating the Committee on Police Affairs to organize a stakeholders’ meeting to investigate implementation of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act, 2019, urged the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to review the objectives behind the establishment of the tactical squads with a view to permanently restricting their interference in daily activities of Nigerians.
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