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Gbajabiamila insists on police reform despite SARS disbandment

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has assured Nigerians that the disbandment of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) would not affect ongoing police reform embarked upon by the house.

Gbajabiamila added that the dissolution of SARS over their excesses across the country would not preclude the ongoing efforts by the House of Representatives to effect desired reforms on the law enforcement agency in Nigeria.

The Speaker, who gave the assurance on Sunday, said that SARS dissolution by the Inspector General of Police, (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, was a necessary response by the government to the outcry arising from multiple documented excesses of the unit in Nigerian Police.

Gbajabiamila, through a statement by his spokesman, Lanre Lasisi, further disclosed that the house would this week meet with the national leadership of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), the Nigerian Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and select civil society organisations to begin joint efforts at developing a legislative proposal.

He said: “There is still a pressing need to have an independent system for monitoring police actions and holding police officers to proper account for failures to follow the law and the police code. The House will continue its work to legislate lasting solutions to the problems of policing in Nigeria.”

“Whatever legislation emerges from this collaboration will be presented to the House within the 30-day timeline announced by Speaker Gbajabiamila at the special session of the House of Representatives on Wednesday 7th October 2020,” the speaker added.

He, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for listening to the call by Nigerians across the length and breadth of the country and Nigerians, particularly the youths who saw a wrong and sought to make it right.

The speaker, meanwhile, argued that the pronouncement was not enough, just as he called on the IGP to embark on practical steps towards enforcement of the policy.

He said: “These steps are necessary to assure the Nigerian people that the announced dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is sincere and well-intentioned, and not merely meant to quell the ongoing protests across the country.

“The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) must also 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”.

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