Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says the federal government will make sure that replacement for the disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS) is acceptable by all stakeholders in the country.
Speaking with state house correspondents on Monday, Osinbajo said the government is committed to a reform of the police force that will meet the expectations of Nigerians.
The IGP had banned operatives of SARS, the special tactical squad (STS) and intelligence response team (IRT) following recent nationwide protests against the squad accused of excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests and, in some cases, extrajudicial killings.
“I think the most important thing is that SARS has been disbanded and that the IGP has also committed to ensuring that not only is it disbanded, but that whatever takes its place has the full participation of the civil society groups and all other stakeholders,” Osinbajo said.
“A few minutes ago, the president also spoke about it, and spoke in particular that the disbandment of SARS is only the first stage in a full scale reform of the police force.
“I think everyone is now committed to seeing a police force and also a law enforcement that will meet the expectations of Nigerians. The purpose of law enforcement and the purpose of policing is for the safety of lives and livelihood of Nigerians. So, we are all committed. I don’t think it’s the exclusive preserve of anyone, we are all very committed.
“The president has also spoken about the prosecution of all law enforcement agents who must have committed wrongful acts. I think all these are commitment, but we must also understand that it’s a process; it is not an event. Reform is a process and we must all commit to it and must stay focused on those issues.
“I think the clear message is that there is a government commitment to ensuring that the process of reforms, those who have committed wrongful acts, are duly investigated and prosecuted. And that whatever replaces SARS is something that is acceptable, first of all compliance with all of the tenets of the rule of law, and human right rights.
“I think these are deep issues that we are all concerned about, I don’t think one person is more concerned than others. I have also been involved in many cases of many young people trying to resolve these kinds of conflicts that have been reported. I think it is a good moment for the police force and for all of us to try and reform the police. We are all committed to it.”
The protests over police brutality are still taking place across the country.