The Nigerian Governors’ across the 36 States met on Thursday after the NGF 19th teleconference meeting to express their dissatisfaction over the time of creation of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) squad by the Nigerian Police to replace the dissolved Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS).
In a communiqué signed by the forum’s Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, in Abuja on Thursday, the 36 state governors who were briefed by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, at the meeting on protests against SARS and a new plan to create an intelligence-driven SWAT, argued that the new SWAT unit created by the Police may be understandably be misinterpreted by the Public as a move to dress defunct SARS in another garb, insisting that, the timing of Creation of SWAT was wrong, as there was need for greater consultation with the public before any decision was taken.
The communique stated that the governor’s advised that:
“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.
“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.
“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.”
“Reforms must include the training and retraining of operatives on the rules of engagement with the general public.
“The state leadership should meet simultaneously nationwide, to address matters arising.
The IGP while briefing the governors at the meeting assured that the SWAT officers will not take part in routine operations, but specifically on intelligence after which they would return to their Commands, and that 50 SWAT officers would be posted to each state and the FCT after a psychological and medical evaluation.
He also assured the Governors at the Governors Forum that extensive reforms within the Police will be carried out inline with the provisions of the new Police Act 2020.
The Forum also resolve to set up a panel to compensate all victims of police and FSARS brutality in each state and see to it that the necessary compensation was made to the affected persons.
“The Forum directed its secretariat to work with the police authority to develop a framework for setting up a panel of enquiry across all States to determine claims and compensation;
“Governors are aware that some States have already started engaging protesters and urged all States that have not commenced same to invite all stakeholders in the matter to resolve these issues.”
The governors also acknowledge that all Police Officers who were part of the abuse and brutality of innocent persons that might have led to injury or death would be fished out and brought to justice.
The forum 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.