The Presidency on Wednesday, 21 October, solicited Nigerians to show understanding with the present government and remain calm as it makes an effort to implement police reforms.
Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, made this appeal in a statement, titled, ‘President Buhari welcomes the establishment of judicial panels of inquiry by 13 states to deliver justice for victims of police brutality’.
The appeal for calm surfaced few hours after eyewitnesses claimed armed Nigerian soldiers opened fire on protesting at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos State.
Adesina wrote, “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.”
Adesina also claimed that when last checked, no fewer than 13 states have established judicial panels of inquiry as resolved by the National Economic Council to address the issue of justice for victims of police brutality in Nigeria.
He listed the states: 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 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 is 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 N288bn in the 2018 Budget to N417bn 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.”
Adesina added that Buhari’s declaration of the immediate dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad was the first step in a set of reform policies that will ensure the police system is accountable to Nigerians.
He also said the President has approved the full implementation of the report of the 2018-2019 Presidential Panel on Police Reform.
“Indeed, the National Human Rights Commission and the Police Service Commission have now commenced the implementation of th