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Police Reform Agenda is a Game Changer to End Impunity –Osinbajo

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Police Reform Agenda is a Game Changer to End Impunity –Osinbajo

The plan of both the Federal and State Governments to investigate police brutality and prosecute erring police officers, create new State-based Security and Human Rights Committees, as well as providing compensation to victims of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units, would be a game-changer in ensuring an end to impunity, says the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this when he received American government delegation including the US Assistant Secretary, Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Bob Destro; US Assistant Secretary, Bureau for Conflict Stabilization Operations, Denise Natali; the Counselor of the US Department of State, Thomas Ulrich Brechbuhl; and the Charge d’Affairs, US Embassy, Kathleen FitzGibbon. Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama was also at the meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja,

According to the Vice President, at least 13 states in the country including Lagos, have since established Judicial Panels “to seek justice and to compensate those whose rights have been breached.”

In a release signed by Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, the Vice President also disclosed that the President had already supported the decisions of the National Economic Council chaired by the VP with all State Governors and FCT Minister as members, on the immediate establishment of State-based Judicial Panels of Inquiry across the country to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra-judicial killings to deliver justice for all victims of the dissolved SARS and other police units.

According to Prof. Osinbajo, NEC also agreed on the provision of monetary compensation to victims and prosecution of erring officers.

Responding to the concerns of the US government on instances of impunity in the country, the Vice President said the Nigerian government’s commitment to implement police reforms and the establishment of Judicial Panels of Inquiry nationwide is to ensure that the Police and other security agencies protect human rights of citizens.

“The concerns around impunity are some of the concerns that informed the establishment of Judicial Panels of Inquiry across states. Each state is now required to establish judicial inquiry that will look into cases of impunity, excessive use of force, extrajudicial killings etc., especially by law enforcement agents,” he said,

“Aside from two representatives of Civil Society groups, these Judicial Panels will have youth representatives and a representative from the National Human Rights Commission, among others. Each State is also required to have what is called the Special Security and Human Rights Committee to ensure that law enforcement and security agencies protect the Human Rights of citizens.”

“Government is paying attention. The point we are making is that protests are a means to an end, but they cannot be the end. We are very optimistic that what we have put in place would eventually yield the best possible results for us,” Prof. Osinbajo stated.

Prof. Osinbajo shed more light on the false narratives about Nigeria, including the herder-farmer crisis, especially in North Central states, and the politics behind the allegations.

He said, the herder-farmer crisis was exacerbated mainly because of land and resources struggle and not the misinterpreted Christians-versus-Muslim narrative.

Members of the delegation offered to support the Federal Government, a suggestion welcomed by the Vice President hoping that such support will create a better understanding.