EndSARS: PSC vowed to punish indicted officers — NHRC

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The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has said that it secured the assurance of the Police Service Commission, PSC, to take disciplinary actions against men and officers of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Unit of the Nigeria Police Force indicted by the Presidential Panel set up to investigate various allegations of gross human rights violation following the EndSARS protest in 2020.

The Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Prof. Anthony Okechukwu Ojukwu, said this in Abuja during the formal launch of the Research Report on the #EndSARS judicial panel organised by the a non-governmental organisation, Enough is Enough (EiE), NHRC and other partners.

He said that the Presidential Panel on SARS had recommended to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the PSC to prosecute those who were indicted or put up disciplinary actions against them under the purview of the police service commission.

Ojukwu said the commission in collaboration with the EiE, launched the #EndSARS Judicial Panel Review Report to also commemorate the 2020 End-SARS protest in the country which many Nigerians lost their lives due to alleged forms of violation by security operatives.

The NHRC boss lamented that the presidential panel which was set up under the directive of then Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo and conducted in 29 states of the federation including the FCT had been met with lots of challenges including lack of political will on the part of the elites, impunity by some allege culprits who use their position to disregard summons by the panel.

While urging the panels that sat in various states of the federation and have not submitted their reports as well as pay compensations to victims to act accordingly by submitting their report, Ojukwu said that the panel that sat in Abuja has paid N431, 884,094 as compensation to 100 victims of police brutality.

He said, “I am happy to announce that just last week we got a letter from the Police Service Commission, reassuring the commission that they are taking steps to make sure that appropriate disciplinary actions are taken against those who have been indicted by the panel for gross human rights violation and abuse of office.“Also today, the EiE has taken the giant step to conduct this judicial review and compile the report which we are going to launch here today. We are also using this activity to commemorate the 2020 EndSARS protest in Nigeria”.

On her part, the Executive Director of Enough is Enough (EiE), Yemi Adamolekun, said that the 42-page report among others urged the Federal Government to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations of the States’ Judicial Panels of Inquiry into Police Brutality as a matter of national policy.

“The Federal Government must hold police officers accountable for human rights violations; quick disciplinary actions should be taken against violating officers; reform the police force to promote human rights and accountability; and strengthen existing independent oversight mechanisms for the police by incorporating public participation in oversight processes, such as public hearings and the collection of citizen complaints among others” she stated.

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