Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has threatened not to sign off on the 2021 budget if it did not contain compensation for victims of police brutality.
He said Nigerians expect actions and “they must deliver.”
“The House of Representatives has committed to a programme of reforms. We resolved to collaborate with the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in this effort and to ensure that draft legislation is ready for consideration within thirty days,” he said.
“None of these actions have sufficed to convince the ever-growing number of protesters to withdraw from continued agitation. From Lagos to Awkuzu, from Port-Harcourt to Kano, Abuja and Enugu, the protests have continued relentlessly, with good cause.
“Whatever else may be driving this moment, our people expect more than commitments. They expect action, and we must deliver.
“We owe this to Tiyamu Kazeem and Tina Ezekwe, Tony Zitta and Anita Akapson, to Chijioke Iloanya and Jimoh Isiaq, Kolade Johnson, Modebayo Awosika and far too many others.
“We owe it to the families they left behind, to those who even now do not know if their missing son, their long lost sister, their father, is buried somewhere in a shallow, unmarked grave, put there by those whose duty it was to protect them.
“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.”
He promised to visit some of the families who lost loved ones to police brutality next week.
“The House of Representatives will pass an Electoral Reform Bill in time for the next general elections so that we may continue to improve the process of electing our political representatives at all levels,” he said.
“I will support the amendment of the constitution to ensure that the provisions on fundamental human rights have teeth, resource control is dealt with equitably and that the next generation of Nigerians does not inherit evident dysfunctions of our current system.”
The speaker described all those who have led the recent protests against police brutality as 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,” he said.