BY EMEKA EJERE
In further demonstration of solidarity to the #EndSARS protesters, Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila says he will not sign the 2021 budget if provisions are not made to compensate the families of victims of police brutality in the last decade.
He disclosed this on Tuesday during the House Plenary Session which held in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
“I will not sign off on a 2021 budget that does not have adequate provisions to compensate those who have suffered violence from police in the last decade,” he said.
The Speaker said the Nigeria Police is not above the laws of the land, adding that they must be accountable to the citizens.
He reiterated the commitment of the National Assembly to “establish a system of citizen-led accountability for the Nigerian Police Force because in a democracy we have set out to build, the police are not above the citizenry.”
“They are servants of the people. The police are not above the law, they are its guardians. As we endeavour to hold our nation’s police to higher standards of professional conducts, we must also make sure we provide for the welfare of the men and women in uniform,” he added.
Gbajabiamila also appealing to #EndSARS protesters not to allow the protests to be hijacked by unscrupulous elements seeking to cause chaos in the country.
While noting that the protesters have raised their voices for a righteous cause which has been heard, he called for discussions on the way forward.
He promised some measures to address the problem of police brutality in the country which includes drafting new legislation that enables a system to hold erring police officers to account for their conduct in the performance of their duties.
According to Gbajabiamila, the draft legislation which will be enacted in collaboration with the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) will be ready for consideration within 30 days.
He noted that the National Assembly would work to ensure that the abuses of the past never reoccur.