…As speaker promises that 2020 Budget will compensate victims of Police brutality, ASUU Demands
Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, has appealed to #EndSARS protesters not to allow their protests to be hijacked by hoodlums.
He said that he would not sign off on the 2021 budget that does not contain budgetary provisions for victims of Police brutality in the last decade and does not contain the reasonable demands by the Academic staff union of Nigerian Universities, ASUU.
“As Speaker of this House of Representatives, 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”
The speaker who spoke on the side-lines of the current state of the nation, explained that there was no better time than now to begin to rethink the system of doing the right thing as in total overhaul of the police system and funding for higher education in Nigeria, since the current system does a great disservice to “our children and our country”
He noted that the time was now to commit to changing the systems so that Nigerian institutions can be freed and made to be citadels where innovation thrives, and excellence is a given.
According to the speaker, he would in company with some members visit some of the families of those who have lost loved ones to police brutality in due course, saying “when we come back, we will work together to honour the memory of those we have lost.”
He appealed to the youths especially the protesters to support the House of Representatives to bring peace, security, justice and prosperity for everybody, warning them not to allow their righteous cause be hijacked by those with base motives, who see this moment as an opportunity to pursue vendettas, to spread division, exploit the many existing fissures that exist in the society and bring the nation to its knees.
He said: “To the young people across Nigeria who have led these protests, whose call for change has brought about this historical moment, you are the midwives of national rebirth. You have moved a nation to action, and now you must join in doing the hard work of making real the vision of a more just, more prosperous, and more resilient nation.
“We see your true cause. Please do not allow your righteous cause to be hijacked by those with base motives, who see in this moment an opportunity to pursue vendettas, to spread division, exploit the many existing fissures that exist in our society and bring our nation to its knees.
“You have raised your voices and marched to demand a better Nigeria. From Abuja to Washington, to Calgary and London, your voices have been heard. Do not allow anybody to convince you that to withdraw from the streets now is to concede defeat.
“This is the time to move your agitation from the chaos of the streets to the painstaking deliberations and strategic partnerships that birth policy and produce legislation” the speaker further said, urging them to mobilise their voices in support of specific policy interventions that will deliver on shared objectives of national renewal and a country that reflects the best of us.
“Two weeks from now, the House will receive and immediately begin to consider legislation that seeks to establish a system of independent, responsive accountability that holds erring members of the Police Force to account for their conduct in the performance of their duties.”