Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has yesterday apologized to the youths protesting against brutality and extortion by operatives of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) across the country. Osinbajo who issued a statement last night revealed that the government has already swung into action that will squarely address the police problem in the land that was long overdue, especially their training, welfare, and condition of service.
He further assured that none of the SARS members would feature in any of the police tactical units that will eventually emerge.
The Vice president disclosed that in the just National Economic Council meeting that presided over, they have resolved to set up a Judicial panel of inquiry who would ensure justice is served, saying that as by law, only state governors are empowered to set up judicial of inquiry with a public hearing.
In his statement; “Dear Nigerians, I know that many of you are angry, and understandably so. We could’ve moved faster and for this we are sorry.
“I fully understand how many young people feel. Many feel that we have been too silent and have simply not done enough.
He noted that the anger and frustration expressed are justified.
According to him, there are too many people who have been victims of police brutality and this is unacceptable, the government must take full responsibility of protecting every Nigerian as we have sworn to do.
He continued, over the past week, the government has been following the protest, and a number of consultations have been going on underground and the citizens deserve to know. Noting that transparency is the key tenet of government after all.
The statement continued, “Several meetings have been held with: the Senate President Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, Speaker of the House Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Chairman of the Police Service Commission, the IG of the Nigerian Police (IGP), the Executive Secretary of National Human Rights Commission Nigeria, and governors.
“We understand that you want to see action from us and I’m here to tell you 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 is being that only state governors, by law, can set up judicial inquiries in their states. The hearings will be public.
“With Mr. President’s approval, SARS has been completely disestablished, and none of its former members will feature in any police tactical units.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Osinbajo said he is sending his deepest condolence to the families of Jimoh Ishaq, and all those who lost their lives in the hand of those wayward police officers, to those who got injured, we wish you quick recovery.
He disclosed that they have proposed each state government to set up a victim support fund where those who paid the ultimate price would be compensated.
He acknowledged that although the big picture of the grievances is more than the #EndSARS, but promised the government is taking comprehensive measures to ensure that the problem is addressed once and for all.
“On Monday, Mr. President also reiterated his commitment to these extensive police reforms.
“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.”