#EndSARS: Reps accuse police of blackmailing Dogara

John Ameh, Abuja

The House of Representatives said on Thursday that it would investigate the allegations of “corruption and brutality” of citizens levelled against the Nigeria Police, particularly its Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

It said the investigation would be carried out in public interest and within the legislative duty of the House, to protect the safety, rights and dignity of Nigerians.

The House gave the assurance to Nigerians in Abuja while reacting to a position taken by the Force Headquarters that the current #EndSARS campaign was sponsored by politicians.

Commenting on the issue, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, noted that the police spokesman, Mr. Jimoh Moshood, illustrated the police’ stance by using a photograph of the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, and the lead campaigner, Mr. Segun Awosanya.

The House described the action of the police spokesman as an attempt to blackmail lawmakers and divert the attention of the public from the probe of SARS alleged atrocities.

Namdas stated that though Moshood did not specifically mention lawmakers while making his allegation by using Dogara’s photo with Awosanya for illustration, he implied that the Speaker was one of the politicians he accused of sponsoring Awosanya.

Namdas added, “It is important to note at this point that the police spokesman accuses politicians, and Speaker Dogara alone cannot be politicians. In any case, the House of Representatives and indeed the parliament happen to be the home of the highest number of politicians, especially elected officials. It is obvious that they are part of the politicians being so accused.

“Speaker Yakubu Dogara is not ashamed of being a politician because he is not just a politician but a tested and trusted leader, a lawyer and legislator of note with untainted honour and impeccable integrity. The members of the House of Representatives do not also have any cause to deny their status as politicians.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the picture in question was taken in September this year, when Mr. Awosanya came to submit the petition against SARS, which is a daily happenstance in the House and indeed any other parliament.

“This should not in any way be interpreted as ‘hobnobbing’ with politicians. If any official interaction between citizens and politicians is to be construed as “hobnobbing” then, all citizens, the police inclusive would be guilty.

“The police ought to know that sovereignty belongs to the people and the House of Representatives is made up of true representatives of the people; hence, people have the constitutional right to express themselves without let or hindrance; and so they can at any time petition the National Assembly, on any issue that affects their interests or the interest of the nation.

“As the Speaker assured the petitioners in September, the House of Representatives under his watch cannot be intimidated to abandon the investigation into these allegations of corruption and brutality against innocent citizens by SARS.”

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