NHRC mulls independent investigative panel on SARS

**** IGP halts the use of force on protesters
By Ameh Ejekwonyilo

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is to set up an Independent Investigation Panel to look into human rights violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad and other segments of the Nigerian Police within the next one week.

In a statement on Tuesday by the commission’s spokesperson, Fatimah Agwai Mohammed, the decision was taken on 12th October, 2020 at a Multi-Stakeholders’ Forum (MSF) in Abuja organised by the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Mr. Tony Ojukwu and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Adamu as a follow-up to the recent disbandment of SARS by the IGP.

The statement quoted Mr. Ojukwu to have said, “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.”

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

The statement further revealed, “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 and to release 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 to design the roadmap and a work plan for the implementation of the White Paper of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of SARS.”

It 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 will be addressed by the Government.

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