A legal practitioner, Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, has called on governments at all levels to listen to Nigerian youths protesting against police brutality.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had on Sunday dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force following a demand by the protesters who accused the unit of rights violations and brutality.
But the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, kicked against the move, saying northern states had enjoyed the efficiency of SARS.
In a statement on Saturday, Oyetibo said governors who are against the dissolution of SARS should reexamine their position.
He noted that a resolution supporting the continuation of the notorious unit means that police brutality should continue.
The lawyer advised the Federal Government to provide compensation for victims of police brutality, and immediately set up a Police Reformation Committee to look into the welfare of the Nigeria Police.
He also recommended a change of name for the Nigeria Police Force to ensure a departure from the era of using force on citizens.
“The Resolution said to have been passed by some Governors that they want SARS to continue in their States in response to the agitation of Nigerian Youths with the Hash tag #END SARS NOW calls for re-examination,” Oyetibo said.
“#END SARS NOW is a metaphor for END POLICE BRUTALITY, END POLICE IMPUNITY, and END POOR WELFARE OF POLICE PERSONNEL.
“A Resolution that SARS should continue means that Police Brutality should continue, Police impunity should continue and poor welfare of Police personnel should continue.
“These certainly cannot be the thinking of the Youths in those States. The Governors therefore ought to rethink as the Youths are on the right path in their demands.
“Nigerian leaders must wake up NOW and put aside political pettifogging and listen to the Youths. The Federal Government should, in addition to the steps being taken by States Governments to provide compensation for victims of Police brutality, and as a matter of urgency, set up a Police Reformation Committee to look into the welfare of the Nigeria Police.
“As a recommendation, the Federal Government should consider a change of name from ’Nigeria Police Force’ to ’Nigeria Police Service’ or simply ’Nigeria Police’ to change the current orientation of Police Personnel that they must use and talk with ‘force’ when dealing with members of the public. This will, of course, entail an amendment to section 214 of the Constitution.”