The Senate, on Tuesday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately address the nation on the current nationwide protests by youths against the notorious Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and bad governance.
According to the Senate, addressing the nation would douse the tension the seemingly unending protests are causing in the country.
The Senate has also directed the police to offer protection to the #EndSARS protesters to prevent hoodlums from hijacking their genuine action, just as it urged the Federal Government to faithfully and comprehensively implement all the five demands of the #EndSARS movement and protesters.
The Upper Chamber has also called on the police and other securities agencies to operate strictly in accordance with the rules of engagement appropriate to a democratic environment that abjures the use of aggressive and brutal force against peaceful protesters.
It has however called on the protesters to stop the protests since their demands are already being attended to by relevant authorities.
Resolutions of the Senate yesterday were sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ekiti South and co-sponsored by 103 other Senators.
The upper legislative chamber as part of the seven prayers adopted from the motion called on President Buhari to address the
Accordingly, the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe ( PDP Abia South) who included the prayer in the motion while making his contribution, said,” Presidential address on issues relating to the protests, will show the required concern from government and make the protesters see themselves as citizens being listened to by their leaders.
“Immediacy of action required at this time as far as the #EndSARs Protests are concerned is for President Muhammad Buhari to address the Nation as regards the issues being raised by the protesters
” Aside from that, Judicial Panel of Enquiry in the mode of the ones being set up in the States should also be set up by the President for a thorough investigation of acts of brutality carried out by the notorious SARs operatives.
” Thirty-five of such operatives have already been identified by a Presidential panel and should be prosecuted accordingly.
” If the Judicial panel of inquiry is set up, heinous acts of other notorious operatives will also be brought up like about five I know already.”
The Senate has also urged the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu to ensure holistic, comprehensive reforms of the police to include the overhaul of the welfare, training, and medical insurance of all members of the Nigerian Police Force.
Other resolutions taken by the Senate from the motion are that all tiers of government should put in place and sustain policies and programs of socio-economic reforms that raise the standard and quality of life of Nigerians, particularly youths who are leaders of tomorrow.
The lawmakers resolved that the Police and other securities agencies should operate strictly in accordance with the rules of engagement appropriate to a democratic environment that abjures the use of aggressive and brutal force against peaceful protesters.
The Senate also asked the Nigerian youths and the Nigerian citizens to approach the National Assembly Committees on Constitutional Reforms in order to secure far-reaching and holistic amendments that are vital to the restructuring and re-shaping our Federation make it an inclusive and viable polity;
The lawmakers also appealed to the #EndSARS movement and protesters to suspend their actions and embrace genuine dialogue in order to give the government the time and space to meet their demands.
Earlier in her presentation, Senator Olujimi said that “The Senate: Notes that Police brutality in Nigeria can be traced to the colonial era when the force was mainly used to suppress dissent against colonial rules, force the people to obey draconian policies and thwart protests against colonial repression;
“Further Notes that some of the documented police brutalities in Nigeria during the colonial era are: the killing of twenty-one miners and wounding of fifty workers during the Enugu Colliery strike of 1949; suppression of the women’s riot (December 1929-January 1930) in the Eastern parts of the country, which led to the death of fifty-five women and serious injury to more than fifty others and the quelling of the Tiv riot of 1960 where 19 civilians were allegedly killed and 83 injured;
“Aware that despite the constitutional provisions establishing the police force based on Section 214 (1) of the 1979 and 1999 constitutions, police brutality continued during the post-colonial era. The police were used as an instrument of oppression by politicians in the first and second republics, in other to harass the operation in order to keep themselves in power. During military rule, the police were used to suppress popular protests and agitations against the military dictatorship.
“Further Aware that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was created in 1992 as a unit of the Nigerian Police Force to deal with crimes such as robbery, motor vehicle theft, kidnapping amongst others;
Concerned that in June 2020, Amnesty International in a report; Time to End Impunity, documented that between January 2017 and May 2020, there were 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment, and extra-judicial killings of Nigerian citizens by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS);
“Further Concerned that the latest #EndSARS protest, which has assumed a global dimension, began on 3 October 2020, when the video of a SARS officer who allegedly shot a young Nigerian in Ughelli, Delta State, surfaced online;
“Worried that despite the disbandment of the SARS unit by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu and the promise of implementing the demands of the protesters towards reforming the police and ending brutality, the address by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 10, 2020, and the appeal of the Senate President, Distinguished Senator Ahmad Lawan to the protesters, the protests have increased in intensity and violence with socio-economic activities paralyzed across Nigeria with some compatriots allegedly losing their lives in the ensuing melee;
“Further Worried that the protests have now grown beyond the initial agitation to #EndSARS and #Endpolicebrutality to include the demands for good governance, accountability of government, reforms of key governmental institutions like INEC, Judiciary, Health, Power amongst others; and
“Accepts that as political leaders, we have the responsibility of protecting, providing succor, and guiding our youths. We must therefore address the issues of emplacing appropriate policies that ensure economic growth, wealth creation, and employment generation on the front burner.
In his remarks after the adoption of prayers of the motion, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said the #EndSARs Protest is a wake-up call on all those in the position of leadership in the country.
He assured that the National Assembly will work with the Executive arm of government in ensuring the implementation of all demands of the protesters.