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He said “there are far too many people who have been brutalised at the hands of the police and this is unacceptable. We must take responsibility for protecting young people, even sometimes from those who are paid to protect them.”
The Vice-president stated that issues raised by demonstrators are “bigger than just SARS describing the issues as deep and systemic but assured that the federal government is undertaking comprehensive measures that will revamp the police by addressing issues of welfare, service conditions and training.
Osinbajo said he has been following the protests and has also held several discussions with the country’s Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Chairman of the Police Service Commission, the Inspector-general of Police, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission and the 36 states governors.
According to the vice-president, he understands that the demonstrators want to see action from the part of the federal government and promised that “work is ongoing.”
“I chaired a meeting of 36 state governors and the Minister of the FCT (NEC), where we resolved to set up judicial panels of inquiry so we can see justice served, and fast.
“The reason being that only state governors, by law, can set up judicial inquiries in their states. The hearings will be public,” said Osinbajo.
He said with President Buhari’s approval, SARS has been completely disestablished, and none of its former members will feature in any police tactical units.
Osinbajo noted that the federal government has proposed that each state government set up a Victims’ Support Fund, which will be supported by Nigerian governors.
“This is the least that we can do to compensate for the injustice suffered at the hands of errant officers.
“I am sending my deepest condolences to the families of Jimoh Isiaq, and all those who have lost their lives at the hands of wayward police officers. To those injured, I wish a full and speedy recovery.
“We will continue to update and engage with you all on these action steps and the ones to come, in the spirit of transparency, so that you can hold us accountable. We are, after all, here to serve you and we owe you a duty to win back your trust,” said Nigeria’s vice-president.
By Abel Ejikeme