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#EndSARS: Senate urges Buhari to implement holistic police reform



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The Upper Chamber of the Nigerian National Assembly, the Senate, at plenary on Wednesday, adopted the report of the Joint Committee on National Security and Intelligence; Defence; Police Affairs; Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on the pandemonium in Calabar, Cross River State, on October 23 and 24, 2020 during the #EndSARS protests. The lawmakers endorsing the recommendations, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to implement holistic reforms in the Nigerian Police Force.

The senate was of the view that recruiting more able-bodied personnel, deploying more funds for procuring arms, ammunition, and other policing gadgets, including regular training, will guarantee efficient policing in the country.

The 69-page report of the Joint Committee on National Security and Intelligence; Defence; Police Affairs; Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, included comprehensive reform of the policing system in the country.

Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, presenting the report, noted that investigative hearings showed that the pandemonium in Calabar during the #EndSARS protests, was “largely spontaneous with no identified goals, leaders, sponsors or financiers”.

According to Senator Gobir, “It was a free reign for amorphous groups, gangs, and criminals.”

The Media Aide to the Senate President Ahmad Lawan, Ezrel Tabiowo, in a statement indicated that the report disclosed that one of the victims of the #EndSARS protest, Senator Bassey Henshaw, appeared before the committee, narrating his ordeal that it took a miracle to get him, his wife, and daughter out from the mob which vandalised his home, including his bedroom.

Gobir stated that Henshaw told the committee that the attacks were deliberately orchestrated by some politicians who perceived them as political enemies.

The senator, according to the committee, attributed the violence to the displacement of the people of Bakassi, following the ceding of their homelands to the Republic of Cameroon, a situation that turned some of them into militants.

The committee disclosed that the senator also stated that the #EndSARS protest was an opportunity for militants to unleash mayhem on Calabar, lamenting that he lost properties worth over N9.3 billion to the attack.

The joint committee in its report, indicated that a total of 41 government properties were vandalised by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protests around Calabar municipal and neighbouring Bakassi, Odukpani, and Akpabuyo Local Government Areas of Cross River State.

The committee noted during the invasion of homes, the security operatives were unable to respond promptly to distress calls from victims, adding that several victims got hints of the planned attacks before the actual acts.


The committee declared that the police, Department of State Services (DSS), and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were overwhelmed by the sheer number of the hoodlums who unleashed mayhem on the city of Calabar.

The joint committee also disclosed that the police testified during investigation that the force lacked adequate personnel, vehicles, arms, ammunition, and other tactical equipment for effective policing of Calabar.

The committee indicated that the police said they arrested 106 suspects and 90 per cent of them are indigenes of Akwa Ibom extraction, including two females.

The committee reported that the Federal Government ignored the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons of Bakassi peninsular and has provided any kind of support to the people.

The committee identified political leaders whose property and businesses were destroyed by the protesters to include former Cross River governors – Senator Liyel Imoke and Donald Duke, including serving and former senators like Senator Gershom Bassey, Senator Victor Egba, Senator Henshaw, and a member of the House of Representatives, Etta Mbora.

According to the committee, the victims submitted financial value of vandalised property/items of over N73 billion, which was verified by the committee set up by Governor Ben Ayade.

The committee also reported that Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State had written to President Muhammadu Buhari demanding the sum of N73,069,634,615.70 support/funds to enable the state to rebuild, reconstruct, and compensate individuals and groups who had lost property.

The Senate, in its recommendations, emphasized the need for regular and purposeful training of personnel of the security agencies in line with international best practices. The Senate, therefore, called on the Federal Government to give priority in terms of security to Cross River, considering the peculiarity of the state with a very large landmass.

They identified that the over 6,000 Cameroon refugees, the influx of Ambazonian army at the border with Cameroon, the large number of militants and those granted amnesty by the state government but yet to be integrated into the National Amnesty programme, constitute an imminent threat to the security of the state.

The committee recommended, among others, that the Federal Government should evolve and implement holistic reforms in the police, to be in tandem with international best practices.

The senate declared, “These will ensure and guarantee effective and efficient policing and coverage of the polity.”


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