House Speaker, Gbajabiamila, won't approve 2021 budget without compensation for victims of Police brutality

He says victims of police brutality over the past 10 years must be compensated.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, says the Nigerian government must take advantage of the moment to implement necessary changes [Presidency of Ghana]

President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2021 appropriations bill to the National Assembly with a proposed expenditure of N13.08 trillion two weeks ago.

Gbajabiamila said during plenary of the lower chamber of the Assembly on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 that people who have been victims of police brutality over the past 10 years must be compensated by the government.

"I will not sign off on a 2021 budget that does not include adequate provision to compensate those who have suffered violence and brutality in the hands of police in Nigeria in the last decade," he said.

The Speaker also announced that he won't sign off on the budget if it does not meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that the Federal Government has already agreed to.

He said the system of funding for higher education in Nigeria does a great disservice to the nation, and must be changed to foster innovation and excellence.

Thousands of protesters have been demonstrating nationwide for two weeks to demand the scrapping of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for numerous acts of brutality against citizens.

Even though the NPF dissolved the unit one week into the protests, protesters remain unsatisfied and have demanded more comprehensive police reform backed with immediate actions.

In his address at Tuesday's plenary, Gbajabiamila praised the peaceful protesters for attracting global attention to their cause in the bid to make the nation better.

"You're the midwives of national rebirth. You have moved the 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," he said.

However, he cautioned them to not allow people with 'base motives' to hijack the cause of the protests and disrupt the country.

Demonstrations across the country have witnessed an uptick in violence over the past few days with thugs wrecking havoc.

Gbajabiamila advised the protested to move their agitations off the streets and continue to engage with authorities.

"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.

"It is time to mobilise your voices in support of specific policy interventions that will deliver all our shared objectives of national renewal.

"Your country thanks you and history will be kind to you."

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Tuesday directed the deployment of anti-riot police unit, the Police Mobile Force (PMF), to quell the spate of violence around the country.

Two prisons were attacked in Edo State on Monday, October 19, 2020, with nearly 2,000 inmates freed, while three police stations were also burnt down, leading Governor Godwin Obaseki to impose a 24-hour curfew.

Three police stations were also attacked and burnt down in Lagos on Tuesday, October 20, leaving many officers injured and one rumoured to be dead after videos on social media showed him being savagely attacked by a mob.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu also promptly imposed a 24-hour curfew.

Adamu said in a statement on Tuesday the Police Mobile Force (PMF) will protect the lives and property of all Nigerians and secure critical national infrastructure across the country.

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