57 victims of SARS brutality to get N264m compensation soon – NHRC

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has described the attacks against #EndSARS protesters across the country as despicable.

Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu made the comment while inaugurating the Independent Investigative Panel of Human Rights Violations by SARS and other Units of the Nigeria Police Force (IIPSARS) 2020 on Wednesday, in Abuja.

He however disclosed that 57 persons who were victims of SARS in the past would be awarded a monetary compensation of N264 million within a short period of time.

“The Commission is saddened by the turn of events in the ongoing peaceful protests. Whereas the authorities had shown reasonable restraint in the management of the protests before now, the turn of events in the past few days are condemnable. The Commission is shocked at the use of live bullets against peaceful protesters as happened yesterday in Lagos and some other parts of the country where curfew has been imposed.

“The Commission wishes to reiterate that, nothing short of holding accountable the officers who directed and unleashed the use of live ammunition against peaceful protesters will be acceptable,” he stressed.

The Executive Secretary further said that the hoodlums who infiltrated the protests and attacked police officers and destroyed properties of the members of the public should be arrested and tried for their actions.

“Innocent members of the public, who lost their properties due to the actions of these hoodlums must be compensated because they were not given protection by the law enforcement agent. The Commission has directed its staff nationwide to monitor the protests and submit comprehensive reports to enable it make appropriate recommendations to the government for accountability and remedy,” he added.

Ojukwu disclosed that, “we are happy today that the report of the three-person panel has been accepted by the federal government for implementation as a sign of its commitment to implement police reforms. The disbandment of SARS was the key recommendation of the report and this has already been implemented.

The Police Act 2020 has been signed into law by the government as part of the recommendation of the Commission to facilitate reforms in the police. The names of SARS officials recommended for disciplinary and other actions have been submitted to the PSC, the HAGF & MOJ, as well as the IGP for further necessary actions. The recommendations are as follows: recommended for dismissal (35), prosecution (33), reduction in rank (23), obey court order (4) respectively, award of monetary compensation (57), amongst many others.”

Speaking, the chairman of the panel, retired Justice Suleiman Galadima, said the event was timely because of the activities happening due to the peaceful protest, lauding the Commission for the trust reposed on the members of the panel to investigate police brutality.

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