Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the government was sorry for not moving fast enough to address issues that warranted the anger of many of them.
For over a week Nigerians, majorly youths in different parts of the federation have been protesting against police brutality and extra-judicial killings of citizens.
The protesters, who started with the demand for the disbandment of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police unit, have since the Inspector General of Police (IGP) announced SWAT as a replacement for SARS, changed their demand.
They are now calling for a total reform of the Nigerian Police Force.
In a series of tweets on his Twitter handle, @ProfOsinbajo, on Friday night while reacting to the development in the country, the vice president wrote:
“Dear Nigerians, I know that many of you are angry, and understandably so. We could’ve moved faster and for this we are sorr.
“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 brutalized 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 noted that the EndSARS protest was just more than the activities of some SARS operatives but are “deep and systemic and we’re undertaking comprehensive measures that will revamp the police by addressing issues of welfare, service conditions, and training.”
Osinbajo said meetings had been held with several stakeholders in the country with a view to addressing the demands of the youths championing the protests.
He further wrote, “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.
“The reason being that only state governors, by law, can set up judicial inquiries in their states. The hearings will be public.
“With Mr President’s approval, SARS has been completely disestablished, and none of its former 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.
“We have proposed that each state government set up a Victims’ Support Fund, which @NigeriaGov will support. This is the least that we can do to compensate for the injustice suffered at the hands of errant officers.
“We also understand that the issues that you’re 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.
“On Monday, Mr. President also reiterated his commitment to these extensive police reforms.
“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.
“Keep safe. God bless you. – YO”