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#EndSARS: FG awaits state panels, US wants grievances of victims addressed

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

The United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, has urged the Nigerian government to ensure accountability and address the grievances of victims of the police brutality and their families as well as the #EndSARS protests.

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He said the US government was working closely with Nigeria to help the population most affected by conflict and violence in the country, particularly in the North-East, where his country is providing vital humanitarian aid to approximately 2.2 million internally displaced Nigerians.

Blinken said this yesterday during a joint press briefing with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, shortly after he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

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He said, “We discussed the importance of a comprehensive approach that builds effective security forces, addresses the underlying drivers of extremism, and respects Nigerians’ basic human rights.

“The United States is committed to helping Nigeria do that by continuing to invest in our security partnership, and the institutions that strengthen the rule of law, and that hold accountable those who commit human rights abuses, corruption and other acts that harm the Nigerian people.”

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By tackling these issues, Blinken said the US could help to address some of the problems that had been key drivers of insecurity.

He also welcomed the conclusion of the investigation by the independent panel of inquiry set up by the Lagos State Government to look into the events that took place at the Lekki tollgate in October 2020, including killings and other alleged abuses by the security forces.

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“We anticipate and look to the state and the Federal Government’s response to the findings, and expect those to include steps that ensure accountability and address the grievances of the victims and their families,” he stated.

Buhari had earlier told Blinken that he awaits the pronouncements of state governments, which set up panels to probe alleged police brutality in the country.

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The president also thanked the US for removing Nigeria from the list of countries blacklisted for engaging in acts threatening religious freedom in the country.

He insisted that there was freedom of worship in Nigeria.

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The President said: “So many state governments are involved, and have given different terms of reference to the probe panels. We at the Federal have to wait for the steps taken by the states, and we have to allow the system to work.

“We can’t impose ideas on them. Federal Government has to wait for the reaction of the states.”

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