President Buhari Says He’s Committed to Lasting Police Reforms, Appeals for Calm

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File Photo: President Muhammadu Buhari presides over Federal Executive Council Meeting and Unveils Nigeria at 60th Anniversary Logo in State House on 16th Sep 2020
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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that his commitment to extensive Police reforms should never be in doubt, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina stated in a statement on Wednesday.

The presidency spokesman stated that the President had in September 2020 signed the new Nigeria Police Act, the first comprehensive revision of the Police Act in decades.

“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.

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“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.

Adesina said: “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”, he said.

President Buhari in June 2019, was said to have 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” the presidency spokesman said.

On pension matters for the police, Adesina explained that on Tuesday, at the commissioning of the Nigerian Police Pension Fund Limited building, the President reiterated continuous support for both serving and retired police personnel.

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Equally, the rollout and funding of a new Community Policing Initiative was approved as part of a larger programme of police reform in Nigeria, aimed at rewriting the rules of engagement between the Force and citizens, Adesina stated.

“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.

Reiterating the commitment of the President Buhari administration to the implementation of lasting Police reforms in Nigeria, Adesina appealed for understanding and calm across the nation, as the implementation of the reforms gathers pace at Federal and State levels.