Gbajabiamila threatens not to sign off on 2021 budget without provision for victims of police brutality

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The speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila on Tuesday threatened not to sign off on the 2021 budget if it does not include adequate provisions to compensate those who have suffered violence and brutality at the hands of the police.

The speaker who stated this while making observations on the ongoing nationwide EndSARS protests at the resumption of plenary also said he would not append his signature to the document if it does not meet reasonable demands of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to which government had already acceded.

The speaker frowned at the current system saying it does a great disservice to children and the country, hence they must commit to changing it so that institutions of higher learning can be citadels where innovation thrives, and excellence reigns.

He disclosed that a bill which will hold erring security operatives accountable for their actions was currently underway.

He also said he and some members of the House will next week visit some of the families of those who had lost their loved ones to police brutality.

“Let me say now for the records to reflect, and in the expectation that I would be held to account. I will not sign off on a 2021 Budget that does not include adequate provisions to compensate those who have suffered violence and brutality at the hands of the police in Nigeria in the last two decades.

“I will not sign off on a budget that does not meet the reasonable demands of the ASUU, to which Government has already acceded. With my colleagues in the House of Representatives, I will visit over the next week, some of the families of those who have lost loved ones to police brutality and when we come back, we will work together to honour the memory of those we have lost.

”The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata constituted a Committee, led by the eminent Professor Deji Adekunle, to work with the House of Representatives to develop a Bill for the House within the timeline we have pledged. The Committee has resumed its assignment.

“Two weeks from now, the House will receive and immediately begin consideration,” he said

The speaker also assured that the House will pass an Electoral Reform Bill in time for the next general election to improve the process of electing political representatives at all levels.

Meanwhile, the House called on President Muhammadu Buhari to issue an executive order to deal with police brutality in the country.

It made the call after adopting a motion of national urgent importance, sponsored by Mr. Sada Soli on the “need to address the possible breach of national security under the peaceful protests across the country:”

The House also appealed to the protesters to have faith in the national assembly and in the executive arm of government to find a lasting solution to the “lingering issues of general police misconduct.”

Adopting the motion, the House resolved to constitute an ad-hoc committee to interface with relevant security agencies and interest groups to ensure a peaceful end to the ongoing #EndSARS protests.

Chaired by the deputy speaker, Mr. Ahmed Idris Wase, the committee consists of the house leader, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, the minority leader, Mr. Ndudi Elumelu and representatives of the committees on defence, police, army, air force, navy, interior, national security and intelligence and human rights.

The house expressed concern that the legitimate #EndSARS protests had been infiltrated by hoodlums, which may result in the breakdown of law and order in the country.

Similarly, the senate resoled to call on the president Muhammadu to urgently address the nation in a bid to douse the tension generated by the EndSARS protests.

This resolution was sequel to a motion moved Mr. Biodun Olujimi and co-sponsored by all senators on the ongoing nationwide protests believed to have been hijacked by extraneous forces to cause mayhem.

The Senate also appealed to the EndSARS protesters to stop their protests to enable the federal government to commence action in meeting their demands.

They also called on the police to protect the protesters from attacks from persons believed to be hoodlums.

In his contribution Mr. Adamu Aliero while seconding the motion, urged the federal government to dialogue with the EndSARS protesters to stop the agitation.

However, he advised the federal government to use every means at its disposal to quell the protests if dialogue fails to achieve the desired results.

With The Guardian, Punch, ThisDay reports

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