The House of Representatives will collaborate with the national leadership of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) on the proposed law it is working on to address police brutality and other issues, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has said. That was just as the NBA president, Olumide Akpata, gave an assurance from his association to ensure a good collaboration with the House with a view to coming up with good legislation to address the matter.
The House had last week passed some farreaching resolutions to address the issue of police brutality against Nigerians, one of which was to amend the constitution and come up with other legislation to curb the excesses of the police. Speaking during a courtesy call by the NBA leadership in his office yesterday, Gbajabiamila said the provision of Section 215 (5) almost gives the police absolute immunity against their excesses, hence the need to amend that section. Gbajabiamila, who said the House could not do it alone, sought for the support of the NBA to achieve its set goal on addressing police brutality.
“I want to use this op-portunity to congratulate Nigerians out there, who have been part of this struggle, and I want to appeal at the same time that we should apply the brake, perhaps, a little and see what will be done. “In the House, before the protest, we made a statement. I made a statement on the floor of the House. We made far-reaching resolutions. We’ve been very proactive on this issue.
We’re determined to pursue the resolutions of the House forcefully, for want of a better word. “Our resolutions included that we discovered section 215 (5) almost gives absolute immunity to the police over what they do. So, for a start, we feel we should begin with amending the constitution and delete that offensive section.
“I believe it was well-intended but now it’s obnoxious. From that, we can raise any other reforms to look at the complaints from the public, from the NBA, the civil societies etc. “We’re waiting for the IGP to send us the list of policemen that had complaints against them in the last five years. We’re also waiting for the list of the victims so that they can be compensated. We’re beginning the budget process, and we want to make sure that there’s a line item that ensures they’re compensated.