A delegation from the United States of American has visited the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo amidst the EndSARS protests in some parts of the country, resulting in riots and deaths.
Amongst the delegation, who came calling today, October 23, are the US Assistant Secretary of the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Bob Destro; the US Assistant Secretary of the Bureau for Conflict Stabilization Operations, Denise Natali; the Counselor of the US Department of State, Thomas Ulrich Brechbuhl and the Charge d’Affairs, US Embassy, Kathleen FitzGibbon. Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama.
Briefing the delegation, Vice President Osinbajo said that the Federal and State Governments are determined to investigate police brutality and prosecute erring police officers.
He said that at least, 13 states in the country, including Lagos, have since established Judicial Panels to seek justice and to compensate those whose rights have been breached.
Responding to the concerns of the US government on instances of impunity in the country, the Vice President said that efforts are being made to implement extensive police reforms adding that the establishment of Judicial Panels of Inquiry nationwide will further ensure that the Police and other security agencies ensure the protection of human rights of citizens.
“The concerns around impunity are some of the concerns that informed the establishment of Judicial Panels of Inquiry across states. Each state is now required to establish judicial inquiry that will look into cases of impunity, excessive use of force, extrajudicial killings etc., especially by law enforcement agents.
“Aside from two representatives of Civil Society groups, these Judicial Panels will have youth representatives and a representative from the National Human Rights Commission, among others. Each State is also required to have what is called the Special Security and Human Rights Committee to ensure that law enforcement and security agencies protect the Human Rights of citizens.
“Government is paying attention. The point we are making is that protests are a means to an end, but they cannot be the end. We are very optimistic that what we have put in place would eventually yield the best possible results for us.”
The Vice President also highlighted what he termed false narratives about Nigeria, including the herder-farmer crisis, especially in North Central states, and the politics behind the allegations.
According to him, the herder-farmer crisis was exacerbated mainly because of land and resources struggle than from the misinterpreted Christians-versus-Muslim narrative.
Members of the United States delegation from Washington DC offered to collaborate with the Federal Government on these issues, a suggestion welcomed by the Vice President hoping that such cooperation will create better understanding of the issues.