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#EndSARS protests: Buhari appeals for calm, understanding

…lauds establishment of judicial panels in 13 states



President Muhammadu Buhar has appealed for calm and understanding by the youth protesting police brutality in the country.

This came as he applauded the establishment of the Judicial Panels of Inquiry by 13 states of the federation as resolved by the National Economic Council (NEC) to address the question of redress and justice for victims of police brutality across the country.


The #EndSARS protests, hitherto peaceful, were hijacked by hoodlums across the country resulting into deadly clashes between the pro and anti-SARS protesters. T his led to the declaration of curfew in a few states, especially in the southern parts of the country.


The crisis came to a head when armed soldiers opened fire on the peaceful protesters camped in Lekki on Tuesday night. Many of the protesters reportedly lost their lives to the gunshots of the soldiers. According to a statement made available to newsmen yesterday by Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, states that have set up the panels so far are: Lagos, Kaduna, Delta, Ekiti, Ogun, Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Plateau, Edo, Nasarawa, Ondo and Akwa Ibom.


The President welcomed the promptness of the necessary sub-national actions, and reaffirmed his commitment to supporting the state governments to ensure that justice was achieved for all victims of police brutality in Nigeria.


Providing a background, the statement read: “Under the Chairmanship of Vice- President Yemi Osinbajo, the National Economic Council (NEC), at its meeting on Thursday October 15, 2020, resolved to establish state-level Judicial Panels of Inquiry, to investigate allegations of Police brutality and ensure that all erring personnel are brought to justice.”


Talking about what the Buhari administration had earlier done to improve the welfare of the Nigerian police, the Presidency said: “Prior to that, the President, in June 2019, signed a Bill establishing the Police Trust Fund, to mobilize additional funding for the welfare and equipping of the Nigeria Police Force.


Accrual of funding into the Fund, as specified in its enabling Act, has commenced. “President Buhari, in 2018, approved an increase in Police salaries and the Police personnel budget has seen a rise from N288 billion in the 2018 Budget to N417 billion in the proposed 2021 Budget; an increase of 45 per cent.


“Only on Tuesday, at the commissioning of the Nigerian Police Pension Fund Limited building, the President also reiterated continuous support for both serving and retired police personnel. “The President has equally approved the rollout and funding of a new Community Policing Initiative, as part of a larger programme of police reform in Nigeria, aimed at rewriting the rules of engagement between the Force and citizens.


“President Buhari’s commitment to extensive Police reforms should never be in doubt. The President, in September 2020, signed the new Nigeria Police Act, the first comprehensive revision of the Police Act in decades. “As President Buhari declared, the immediate dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is the first step in a set of reform policies that will deliver a Police system accountable to the Nigerian people.


The President has also approved full implementation of the report of the 2018-2019 Presidential Panel on Police Reform. “Indeed, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Police Service Commission (PSC) have now commenced the implementation of the Report.” The Presidency appealed for understanding and calm across the nation, as the implementation of the reforms gathers pace at federal and state levels.


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