#EndSARS: Governors Urge IGP to Cease Creation of SWAT

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• Call for justice of injured and dead innocent citizens

All the governor in the 36 States of Nigeria, under the umbrella of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) have urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Adamu Mohammed Adamu to cease the creation of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team.

The above resolution was made after the meeting held with the IGP on Wednesday, October 14, at the end of the NGF’s 19th teleconference meeting chaired by its chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.

In the communiqué issued by the NGF, the governors endorsed the ongoing plan to carry out far-reaching reforms geared towards greater effectiveness, accountability and transparency.
However, the creation of SWAT was described as ill-timed.

Some parts of thecommuniqué read: “The IGP assured governors that he will leverage the provisions of the new Police Act 2020 to carry out extensive reforms within the Police and he pledged for the support, understanding and guidance of governors to embark on the new reforms.

In response, the Forum acknowledged the concerns of many Nigerians especially youths that have been affected by the excesses of some officials of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and the Nigeria Police.

“This notwithstanding, Forum members noted the efforts of officials of FSARS in their states, as they have greatly assisted in containing the increasing spate of kidnapping, armed robbery, cattle rustling, and other high-end crimes particularly in the Northern states, where containing these criminal activities would have otherwise been very challenging.

“Members, therefore, expressed concern about the sweeping decision to scrap F-SARS even while acknowledging the need to address its excesses.

“After deliberation and extensive discussions, the governors were unanimous in their support for the IGP and endorsed his plan to carry out far-reaching reforms geared towards greater effectiveness, accountability and transparency.

“On the IGP’s plan to create SWAT, governors stated that even though the effort might be necessary and in good faith, they argued that the timing is inauspicious as the mood of the nation negates it and may understandably be misinterpreted as a surreptitious move to dress F-SARS in another garb.

“Governors agreed that there was the need for greater consultation with the public before any decision is taken.

“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.

“Governors advised that throughout the reform process, the room for consultation may include sessions and direct feedback from the public, stressing that there is no single solution that applies to all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

“Governors were unequivocal 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 while other Nigerians who have been adversely affected by police brutality or other actions that were injurious to them or their loved ones, should be compensated.

“Governors are aware that some states have already started engaging protesters and urged all states that have not commenced the same to invite all stakeholders in the matter to resolve these issues.

“Members also recommended that the IGP, the Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Council should immediately review the Remuneration and Emoluments of police officers and explore ways to fund this in order to incentivize and motivate police officers who have pledged themselves in service of the country.

“Governors enjoined the IGP to be ready to forge stronger partnerships with state governments and the civil society to improve civil relations between the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Public.

“Members also agreed that the concerns of the public went beyond a need for Police/FSARS reforms and included a demand for better governance.

“They noted the need to engage, consult the public and take decisions that address the underpinning issues leading to the protests.

“Finally, members praised Mr. President who has acknowledged that the protests and demonstrations reflect genuine concerns of many Nigerians and urged for a speedy implementation of all the agreed points,” the communiqué read.