The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has disclosed that he will not sign the 2021 budget if provision for compensation to victims of police brutality is excluded.
Gbajabiamila stated this in a speech before the House went into a closed-door session during Tuesday’s plenary.
It would be recalled that the 2021 budget was passed through second reading on Wednesday, last week, and committees of the House are due to commence budget defence process.
Also, the House in its resolution 2 weeks ago resolved to make provisions in the 2021 budget to compensate the victims of police brutality in the country.
Reasons Gbajabiamila Refused To Sign 2021 Budget
“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.
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“I will not sign off on a budget that does not meet the reasonable demands of the ASUU, to which government has already acceded. There is no better time to rethink the system of funding for higher education in Nigeria. The current system does a great disservice to our children and our country, and we must commit to changing it so that we can free our institutions of higher learning to be citadels where innovation thrives.”
In his opening remarks at the plenary on Tuesday, the Speaker notes that the #EndSARS protests “have gotten more serious” with pockets of violence in parts of the country.
According to him, the protests “seem to have been hijacked” by those who have a different agenda.
Gbajabiamila noted that the Federal Government, through the National Human Rights Commission, had set up a panel of enquiry to take complaints from victims of police brutality.
According to the Speaker, none of these have convinced the agitators to suspend the protests.
He pointed out that expectations from the ruling class were high, stating that, “Our people expect action and we just deliver.”
While threatening to withhold his signature to the appropriation bill, Gbajabiamila disclosed that he would be leading a delegation of lawmakers to pay condolence visits to families of some of those killed by the police, stressing that they would be honoured after the visits.
The Speaker, however, urged #EndSARS protesters to be cautious in handling the matter. He partly said, “Don’t let your righteous cause be hijacked…and bring our nation to its needs…This is the time to move your agitation from the streets.”