The Presidency has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to extensive Police reforms should never be in doubt.
In a statement by Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), Femi Adesina, the Presidency reiterated the full commitment of the Buhari Administration to the implementation of lasting Police reforms in Nigeria, saying he welcomes Judicial Panels of Inquiry set in states across the country.
At the last count, it stated, no fewer than 13 States have gone ahead to establish the Judicial Panels of Inquiry as resolved by the National Economic Council to address the question of redress and justice for victims of police brutality across the country.
It named the states that have set up the panels so far to include: Lagos, Kaduna, Delta, Ekiti, Ogun, Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Plateau, Edo, Nasarawa, Ondo and Akwa Ibom.
“President Muhammadu Buhari welcomes the promptness of these necessary subnational actions, and reaffirms his commitment to supporting the State Governments to ensure that justice is achieved for all victims of police brutality in Nigeria.
“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,” said the statement.
It explained that prior to that, the President in June 2019 signed a Bill establishing the Police Trust Fund, to mobilise 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, it added, 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 appeals for understanding and calm across the nation, as the implementation of the reforms gathers pace at Federal and State levels”.