Addressing the demands of Nigerians calling for a total ban of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS unit of the police, Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has apologised to Nigerians and also blamed the Federal Government for not moving faster.
Isinbajo, in a series of tweets on Friday night, said he knows many Nigerians are angry, and that their anger was justified.
“I fully understand how many young people feel. Many feel that we have been too silent and have simply not done enough.These feelings of frustration are justified. 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.”
He said several meetings have been held between President Muhammadu Buhari, top officials of the National Assembly, police authorities and the human rights commission in order to salvage the situation.
“Over the past week, we have been following the protests, and I have had a number of discussions with key people in the administration that you deserve to be informed about. Transparency, after all, is a key tenet of government.”
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.”
He noted that the reason for the meeting with the governors is because they are the only ones who can set up judicial inquiries in their states according to the law.
Mr Osinbajo also reiterated the disbandment of SARS assuring that none of its former members will feature in any police tactical units.
He condoled with the families of Jimoh Isiaq and all those who have lost their lives at the hands of the “wayward” police officers.
“We have proposed that each state government set up a Victims’ Support Fund, which the federal government will support. This is the least that we can do to compensate for the injustice suffered at the hands of errant officers,” he announced.
The vice president acknowledged that the issues being raised are bigger than SARS.
“They’re deep and systemic and we’re undertaking comprehensive measures that will revamp the police by addressing issues of welfare, service conditions and training,” he promised.