EndSARS: Investigative Panel presents final report, indicts 72 officers

The Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations against SARS and other units of the Nigerian Police submitted its report to the National Human Rights Commission with strong recommendations and penalties in Abuja on Tuesday.

In its recommendation, the panel found 72 police officers guilty of the allegations grounded against them with 28 of them were recommended for prosecution, 25 for dismissal, 15 for disciplinary actions, and 4 for demotion.

The chairman of the IIP-HRV-A-SARS, Justice Suleiman Galadima, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court speaking at the presentation of the report to the National Human Rights Commission, said the panel had entertained over 200 petitions from 29 states since its initiation two years back.

Justice Suleiman, while calling on the Federal Government to take a critical view of the report to implement its recommendations charged the NHRC to harmonise all the several reports submitted to it for further transmission to the Federal Government for implementation.

According to the NHRC Executive Secretary, Chief Tony Ojukwu, SAN, the commission would ensure that impunity was completely banished from Nigeria.

He added that NHRC would guarantee the implementation of the recommendations of the panel.

He also said payment of compensation and holding indicted officers of the Nigeria Police accountable for the violation of the rights of the people were the first steps on the road to justice.

“I welcome the decisions and indictments issued by the Justice Galadima panel, and I want to assure Nigerians and the victims and their families that the National Human Rights Commission will do everything possible to ensure that the decisions are implemented.

“We will work with the police, relevant committees of the National Assembly, civil society, and development partners to implement the panel’s recommendations on police reforms to ensure effectiveness and human rights-centred policing,” Ojukwu said.

On his part, the Secretary of the Panel, Hilary Ogbonna while presenting the fact sheets of the report, said the committee received 295 petitions on police brutality from 29 states of the federation, with Abuja having the highest number with 123 petitions.

According to Ogbonna, the subject matters of the petitions were wrongful demotion, extortion, police harassment and intimidation, unlawful seizure of property, disobedience to court orders, denial of access to justice, abuse of office, and enforced disappearance.

Other areas included a threat to life, unlawful arrest and detention, nonpayment of a judgment sum, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, and violation of the right to life.

A total of N438, 884, 094 has been paid to victims of police cruelty, while 54 petitions brought before the panel were withdrawn due to harassment, intimidation, and threats to the victims’ lives by the police, Hilary said.

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