Governors of the 36 states of the federation have asked Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police, to fish out the policemen responsible for the deaths of protesters across the country.
There has been a nationwide outrage over the excesses of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS).
Protesters had taken to the streets to demand an end to police brutality. Some of the protesters, however, clashed with security operatives, leading to the loss of lives.
Amnesty International had put the death toll at 10.
At a teleconference of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) held on Thursday, the governors said the policemen who attacked protesters must be “brought to book”.
“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,” read a communique Kayode Fayemi, chairman of NGF, issued at the end of the meeting.
The governors also said that the IGP did not consult widely before dissolving SARS.
They said despite the excesses of the unit, its operatives assisted in tackling insecurity, particularly in the north.
“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,” the communique read.
“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; Members noted that some States had already started the process of engaging protesters and urged all States to engage all stakeholders for a collectively agreed resolution.”
On the IGP’s plan to create SWAT, governors said though the effort might be necessary and in good faith, the timing is inauspicious “as the mood of the nation negates it and may understandably be misinterpreted as a surreptitious move to dress FSARS in another garb”.
“Governors agreed that there was need for greater consultation with the public before any decision is taken; Governors advised the IGP to immediately convene a meeting of all stakeholders and agree on a format of engagement with all State officials in order to address concerns; and that State leadership should meet simultaneously nationwide, to address matters arising,” the communique read.
“Governors emphasized that reforms must include the training and retraining of operatives on the rules of engagement with the general public; 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.”