The Muhammadu Buhari Presidency has appealed for calm and understanding from #EndSARS protesters across the country over the recent crisis that marked the protests.
It also assured of the President’s commitment to the full implementation of the demanded reform of the Nigeria Police Force.
In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Buhari, Femi Adesina, the Presidency observed not less than 13 states across the country had started the process towards fulfilling demands of the protesters by setting up the prescribed judicial commissions of inquiry into police brutality.
It also recalled some of the steps and policies so far initiated and signed off on by President Buhari, which include the Bill establishing the Police Trust Fund in 2019 and the increment to police salaries and personnel budget in 2018.
“The Presidency appeals for understanding and calm across the nation, as the implementation of the reforms gathers pace at Federal and State levels.
“The Presidency wishes to reiterate the full commitment of the Buhari Administration to the implementation of lasting Police reforms in Nigeria.
“At the last count, 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.
“The 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.
“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.
“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 288 billion Naira in the 2018 Budget to 417 billion Naira 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 statement said.