Friday, May 14, 2021

Rights Commission sets up independent panel to investigate SARS brutalities


Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan is a 30-year-old graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, says it is setting up an Independent Investigation Panel to look into human rights violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS and other segments of the Nigerian Police within the next one week.

According to a statement signed by the commission’s Assistant Director for Public Affairs, Fatimah Mohammed, the decision was taken on Monday during a Multi-Stakeholders’ Forum, MSF, in Abuja.

DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that the forum was organised by the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Tony Ojukwu Esq. and the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu as a follow-up to the recent disbandment of SARS by the IGP.

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Against the foregoing, the Executive Secretary stated that: “An open call for Memoranda from members of the public whose rights have been violated by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Police will be released by the Commission within a week.”

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The NHRC Chief Executive Officer disclosed that the Forum “recommends the psychological evaluation, training and retraining of disbanded SARS officials prior to re-deployment.

He noted that there was also an agreement by the forum that the Inspector General of Police should order all State Police Commands to halt the use of force against protesters.

The IGP also ordered the release of arrested protesters and citizens unconditionally.

The Forum, according to him, resolved to set up the following Technical Committees, to be supported by the NHRC and other Civil Society Organisations.

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The aim, he said, is to design the roadmap and a work plan for the implementation of the White Paper of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of SARS.

The work plan includes: Training, Capacity and Re-Orientation; Logistics: Infrastructure, Communications and Technology; Arrest, Detention and Investigations; Regulations, Oversight and Accountability and Finance and Partnerships.

The Forum further noted that the proposed reforms should be anchored under the basis of the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

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The report was jointly authored by the National Human Rights Commission, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Nigeria Police Force.

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The Forum affirms that reform proposals for the Nigerian Police Force would be based on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and existing legislations such as the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.

Others include the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act, 2019, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and the Anti-Torture Act, 2017 and The National Human Rights Commission Act, 2010 amongst others.

The Forum also affirmed that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement which bothers on giving justice to victims of SARS brutality and improved working conditions for police personnel are genuine concerns and would be addressed by the government.

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