Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said Friday that plans by federal and state governments to investigate police brutality and prosecute erring police officers, create new state-based Security and Human Rights Committees, and provide 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.
Osinbajo stated this when he received United States of America’s delegation including Assistant Secretary of Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Bob Destro; Assistant Secretary of 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, at the at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He said at least 13 states in the country including have since established Judicial Panels to seek justice and compensation to those whose rights have been breached.
While responding to the concerns of the US government on instances of impunity in the country, the Vice President said the efforts were part of government’s commitment to implement extensive police reforms.
He said the establishment of Judicial Panels of Inquiry nationwide would further ensure that the police and other security agencies ensure the protection of 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.
“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,” he said.
The vice president also highlighted the false narratives about Nigeria including the herdsmen and farmers crisis, and the politics behind the allegations.
He said the herdsmen and farmers crisis was exacerbated mainly because of land and resources struggle than from the misinterpreted Christians-versus-Muslim narrative.
Members of the United States delegation from Washington DC offered to collaborate with the federal government on the lingering crises in the country, a suggestion welcomed by the Vice President hoping that such cooperation would create better understanding of the issues.