#EndSARS: NHRC begins probe of Rights Violations, sets up panel

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By Michy Abraham in Maiduguri 

The National Human Rights Commission has constituted an 11-man panel to probe allegations of violation of human rights by the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

The police unit was scrapped by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu following ongoing protest across the country following allegations of excesses against it’s men.

The Executive Secretary of NHRC, Tony Ojukwu in a statement on Saturday said all petitions, complaints and memoranda must reach the Commission, which is the Secretariat of the Panel on or before 31 October, 2020.

He said: “In line with the National Human Rights Commission’s mandate and in response to the nationwide agitations by some Nigerian youth groups under the auspices of End SARS, the NHRC has constituted an 11-man Independent Investigative Panel (IIP) to look into allegations of human rights violations against the defunct SARS and other units of the force.”

He disclosed that the National Human Rights Commission has constituted an 11-man panel to probe allegations of human rights violations by the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Ojukwu said the Committee headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Suleiman Galadima will hear petitions, complaints and memoranda from Nigerians across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, and thereafter make recommendations to the federal government on how best to reform SARS and other units of the Police force.

Ojukwu. in the statement made this known in Abuja Friday evening, while noting that the terms of reference of the Panel include, investigate all complaints of human rights violations against SARS and other units of the Police force, make appropriate recommendations as per the damages and compensations to be paid to the victims of Police brutality.

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The statement said besides, the Panel is given the powers to refer any matter, in the course of their assignment to the Attorney General of the Federation, or that of a State for prosecution in accordance with the law.

The panel is empowered as well to make recommendations to government on measures to be taken in respect of operatives of defunct SARS or officers of the Nigerian Police Force, if any, found in violation of human rights of citizens and propose remedial steps that may enhance the professional conduct of defunct SARS operatives, any succeeding unit and other members of the Nigerian Police Force and any other recommendations that may be considered appropriate.

Other members of the Panel are: Abdulrahaman Yakubu, Yemi Ademolakun, Chioma Chuka, Prof. Ayo Atsenuwa, Tijani Mohammed, Dr. Uju Agomoh, DIG Ibrahim Lamorde, Dr. Garba Tetengi, SAN, Feyikemi Abudu, John Aikpokpo Martins, while
Hilary Ogbonna, will serve as it’s secretary.

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