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Police reform will end impunity in Nigeria —Osinbajo



Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said on Friday the planned reform of the Nigeria Police Force would end impunity in the country.

Osinbajo, according to a statement issued by his Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, stated this when the United States government delegation visited him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Those on the delegation were the US Assistant Secretary, Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Bob Destro; US Assistant Secretary, Bureau for Conflict Stabilization Operations, Denise Natali and the Counselor of the US Department of State, Thomas Brechbuhl.

The Charge d’Affairs, US Embassy, Kathleen FitzGibbon and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, were also at the meeting.

Osinbajo said the plan would include the investigation of police brutality and provision of compensation to victims of brutality by operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units.

He added that at least 13 states including Lagos had established judicial panels of inquiry to seek justice and compensate those whose rights had been breached.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari had already supported the decisions of the National Economic Council (NEC) on the police reform.

READ ALSO: U.S officials visit Osinbajo, want those responsible for shooting at protesters held accountable

NEC had on October 12 agreed on the immediate establishment of judicial panels of inquiry to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra-judicial killings by SARS and other police units.

Osinbajo said that NEC also agreed on the provision of monetary compensation to victims and prosecution of erring officers.

He said: “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 especially by law enforcement agents.

“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.”

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