By Audrey Lotechukwu
SAT, OCT 17 2020-theG&BJournal-It has been over a week since Nigerian youths began worldwide protest to demand the end to police brutality in country. Their demands have grown since from End SARS and complete overhaul of the Nigerian Police Force to good governance and accountability.
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo late Friday weighed in with a letter to the youths apologising on behalf of the Federal Government. He voiced support for the anger of the youths which he says is understandable but regretted that the government didn’t move fast enough to respond to their feelings and demands.
”We could have moved faster and for this we are sorry,” Osinbajo said.
I fully understand how many young people feel,” he said. ”Many feel that we have been too silent and have simply not done enough. These feelings of frustration are justified.”
The Vice President also acknowledged that there are far too many people who have been brutalised at the hands of members of the Police Force and says that is ”unacceptable.”
”We must take responsibility for protecting people, even sometimes from those who are paid to protect them.”
Osinbajo said he has had a number of discussions with key people in the administration since the protest began.
”We understand that you want to see action from us and I am here to tell you that work is ongoing on the.”
He noted that he chaired a meeting of 36 State governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), ”were 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 hearing will be public.”
Osinbajo said; ”With Mr President’s approval, SARS has been completely disestablished, and none of its members will feature in any police tactical units.
”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.”
He said the Federal Government has proposed that each State Government set up a ”Victims’ Support Fund,” which the Federal Government will support.
”This is the least that we can can do to compensate for the injustice suffered at the hands of errant officers.
”We also understand that the issues that you are raising are bigger than just 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 said ”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.”