The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has reacted to the creation of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team as replacement for the scrapped Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Daily Times reports that the unit created by the Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu, has also been condemned by the #EndSARS protesters
The governors, in a communiqué released after the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) meeting on Wednesday, October 14, said that it’s establishment was done in a wrong timing.
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.
READ ALSO: #EndSARS: Reps summon IGP Adamu
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 emphasised 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.