Submitted SARS Panel Final Report Recommends Dismissal Of 25 Policemen, Prosecution Of 28 Others

The independent investigative panel on human rights violations perpetrated by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, of the Nigeria Police and other force units has submitted its final report to the National Human Rights Commission.

The final report formally accused 72 police officers of their involvement in human rights violations.

The report recommended the prosecution of 28 police personnel and the dismissal of 25 officers.

It also advised that disciplinary action be taken against 15 police officers while four personnel be demoted.

The Nigerian government established the panel to look into cases of human rights abuses perpetrated by police officers in the country.

After two years of investigations, the panel said, it received 295 petitions and decided on 95, while the petitioners withdrew 54 petitions and 33 of them were struck out.

On the payment of compensations, retired Justice Suleiman Galadima, the chairman of the panel, while presenting the report, commended the federal government for the payment of compensation to victims.

He said, “The gesture was indicative of government genuine intention in setting the various panels of investigations across the country.”

Justice Galadima urged the Nigerian government to guarantee that victims’ compensation funds be set aside to settle the award of compensations.

“We urge the Nigerian government to as a matter of urgency look into the report and recommendations with a view to implementing it,” he said.

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On its part, the executive secretary, National Human Rights Commission in Nigeria, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, pledged that the commission would study the recommendations and work with the police, National Assembly, Civil Society Organizations and development partners to execute the reforms.

He emphasized the need for government to hold perpetrators accountable.

“Payment of compensation is just one step in the road to justice. There is still the need to hold indicted officers of the nigeria police accountable for these violations.”

Mr. Ojukwu said, “the national human rights commission will do everything possible to ensure that the decisions of the panel are implemented.”

According to reports, almost half a billion naira have been paid as compensation for 100 victims.