US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the United States welcomes the conclusion of the independent panel of inquiry established by the Lagos State government to look into the events that took place at the Lekki Toll Gate in October 2021.
Blinken stated this during a briefing at the State House in Abuja on Thursday, shortly after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
He said, “This report is amidst the EndSARS protest including the killings and other alleged abuses by security forces.
“We anticipate and look to the state and federal governments’ response to the findings and expect these to include steps that show accountability and address the grievances of the victims and their families.”
The Secretary of State further noted that the US is working with the Nigerian government to help those who are most affected by conflict and violence in the country, particularly in the Northeast.
He stated that the United States is providing vital humanitarian aid to approximately 2.2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Blinken’s statement comes shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari said the Federal Government will allow the system to exhaust itself, and will, therefore, wait for pronouncements from state governments that set up panels to probe police brutality in the country.
“So many state governments are involved, and have given different terms of reference to the probe panels,” spokesman, Femi Adesina quoted the president as saying.
“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.”
On the recent removal of Nigeria from the watchlist of countries violating religious freedom, which Blinken said was “based on facts,” Buhari expressed the country’s appreciation, noting that there was freedom of worship in Nigeria, and no one is discriminated against on the basis of his or her faith.
He said also said education is a priority in the country, “because when you educate a people, there are certain levels they will not fall below.”
The President equally appreciated the US for allowing Nigeria to procure military hardware to fight terrorism in the country, and for the training given to the Nigerian military.
“It’s helping us to stabilize the situation in the Northeast, and we’ve made a lot of progress since 2015,” he said. “We are doing a lot on security, and the people involved appreciate our efforts.”
On the development of democratic ethos, President Buhari said Nigeria has adopted the American model, hook, line, and sinker, with its term limits.