By Mukwuzi Joseph
The Presidency on Tuesday said the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad has approved the five-point demands put forward by youths that have been protesting across the country.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘Presidential panel on police reforms swings into action, plays 5-point demand of protesters.’
The demands include:
· Immediate release of all arrested protesters.
· Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families.
· Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct (within 10 days).
· In line with the new police act, psychological evaluation and retraining (to be confirmed by an independent body) of all disbanded SARS before they can redeployed.
· Increase police salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting lives and property of citizens.
A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said among the terms agreed to: are halting use of force against protesters and unconditional release of arrested citizens.
The Ministry of Police Affairs and Police Service Commission were also present at the meeting affirmed the five-point demand of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the government.
A communiqué of Stakeholders’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) said:
“Following the public protests regarding various forms of human rights violations by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the consequent disbandment of the unit by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, there arose the need for stakeholder engagement to build trust and restore public confidence in law enforcement.
“The agitations also brought to the fore, the need to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“The Forum was addressed by the Inspector General of Police and the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission.
“The Forum collectively: welcomed the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Reaffirmed the constitutional rights of Nigerians to peaceful assembly and protest; Further affirmed the sanctity of life of every Nigerian and the role of the Police in protecting this right; Affirms that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.’’
According to the communiqué signed by Inspector General of Police and Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, Esq, the Forum noted that the dissolution of SARS presents an opportunity to embark on comprehensive reforms aimed at repositioning the Nigerian Police Force as a modern, responsive and citizens-centred law enforcement organisation.
“The Forum further notes that the proposed reforms should be anchored under the basis of the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was jointly authored by the National Human Rights Commission, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Nigeria Police Force.
“The Forum agrees to the setting up of this Independent Panel by the National Human Rights Commission within the next one week. An open call for Memoranda from members of the public whose rights have been violated by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Police will be released by the Commission within one week.
“The Forum recommends the psychological evaluation, training and retraining of disbanded SARS officials prior to re-deployment.
“The Forum resolves to set up the following Technical Sub-Committees to design an implementation roadmap and work plan for the implementation of the White Paper: Training, Capacity and Re-orientation; Logistics: Infrastructure, Communications and Technology; Arrest, Detention, and Investigations; Regulations, Oversight and Accountability and Financing and Partnerships”, it said.
The communiqué stated that sub-Committees will be supported by the National Human Rights Commission and other civil society organisations.
Those who attended the meeting were: Dr Kole Shettima- MAC Arthur Foundation; Innocent Chukwuma – Ford Foundation; Jude Ilo- of OSIWA; Segun Awosanya(segalinks) #ENDSARS Movement; Yemi Adamolekun- Enough is Enough; Clément Nwankwo- PLAC; Rafsanjani- CISLAC; Kemi Okonyedo- PWAN; YZ – CITAD; Folarin Falana Falz; Prof Deji Adekunle –NIALS; Chris Ngwodo, SSA to President Research & Policy; Dr Fatima Waziri – Rule of Law Adviser OVP and Abdulrahman Yakubu – NHRC Secretariat.