STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
OSINBAJO TO ANTI-SARS PROTESTERS:
GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO PROSECUTION OF RIGHTS VIOLATORS, HOLISTIC POLICE REFORMS
*VP adds: We must all stay focussed & committed, restates disbandment of SARS only first step in process
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has said that government is not only committed to full-scale police reform but also ensuring that wrongful acts are duly investigated and prosecuted.
The Vice President gave the assurance when approached by State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa on Monday, just after the President assured Nigerians that “the disbandment of SARS is the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms in order to ensure that the primary duty of the police and other law enforcement agencies remains the protection of lives and livelihood of our people”.
According to Prof. Osinbajo, “the President also spoke, few minutes ago, about the prosecution of all those (law enforcement agents) who have committed wrongful acts. I think, all these are commitments that have been made. But we must also understand that it is a process. It is not an event. Reform is a process. We must show commitment. Everyone must be interested, and we must stay focussed on the issues.”
Addressing the concerns of protesters still on the streets, the Vice President said “I think the clear message is that there is a government commitment to ensuring that the process of reform is done and those who have committed wrongful acts are duly investigated and prosecuted. And whatever replaces SARS is something that is acceptable, first of all, in its compliance to all the tenets of the rule of law and human rights.”
Continuing, the Vice President said “these are all issues that we are very deeply worried about. All of us are deeply concerned about it. Many young people have complained to me. I have also been involved in many cases trying to resolve these kinds of conduct.”
Prof. Osinbajo added that “I think it is a very good moment for the Police Force, a good moment for law enforcement and for all of us. This is the time for reform, a time for change and we are all committed to it.
“Everyone is committed to seeing a Police Force and also Law Enforcement that will meet the expectations of the Nigerian people. The purpose of law enforcement, the purpose of policing, is for the safety of lives and livelihoods of Nigerians. So, we are all committed to that, and I think that everyone is committed, we are all very committed to it.”
The Vice President said “the most important thing is that SARS has been disbanded and the IGP has committed to ensuring not only that it is disbanded but also that whatever takes its place has the full participation of civil society groups and all other stakeholders.”