..As IGP Brief NGF On SWAT Operations
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has insisted 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.
The Governors also expressed concern about the timing for the creation of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) squad by the Nigerian Police to replace the dissolved Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS).
The 36 state governors expressed the concern in a communiqué issued on Thursday, October 15, after the NGF 19th teleconference, and signed by its Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State Kayode Fayemi, in Abuja.
The communique said that the Governors deliberated on a number of issues affecting the country; particularly the nationwide protests; riots; and also demonstrations against the activities of officials of FSARS and the Nigerian Police.
It noted that the governors at the meeting were briefed by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, on protests against SARS; and plan also to create an intelligence-driven SWAT.
It quoted the IGP as informing the forum that about 50 SWAT officers would be posted to each state and the FCT; after a psychological and medical evaluation.
Also, it said that the officers, according to the IGP would not take part in routine operations, but specifically on intelligence after which they would return to their Commands.
It said that the IGP assured governors that he would leverage on the provisions of the new Police Act 2020; to carry out extensive reforms within the Police.
It said that the governors argued that the timing for the SWAT creation was inauspicious; as the mood of the nation negates it “and may understandably be misinterpreted as a surreptitious move to dress FSARS in another garb.”
Furthermore, it also said that the governors agreed that there was a need for greater consultation with the public before any decision was taken.
The communique stated that the governors advised that:
- “The IGP immediately convene a meeting of all stakeholders; and agree on a format of engagement with all State officials in order to address concerns.
- “The state leadership should meet simultaneously nationwide; to address matters arising.
- “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.
- “Throughout the reform process, the room for consultation may include sessions; and direct feedback from the public; as there is no single solution that applies to all the 36 States of the federation and the FCT.”
It disclosed that the forum resolved to set up a panel for compensation to all victims of police and FSARS brutality in each state; and also see to it that the necessary compensation was made to those who deserved them.