President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday approved the establishment of state and local government police.
He also approved the dismissal of 37 police officers as recommended by the National Human Rights Commission Presidential Special Panel on SARS Reforms.
This was contained in the speech by the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission and Chairman Presidential Panel on SARS Reform, Anthony Ojukwu, during the submission of report of the Presidential Panel on the reform of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), of the Nigeria Police, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Panel according to Ojukwu received 113 complaints on alleged human rights violations from across the country and 22 memoranda on suggestions on how to reform and restructure SARS and the Nigeria Police in general.
He said, “The Panel was accordingly constituted and comprises representatives of the
following institutions including members of the civil society namely:
“Anthony Okechukwu Ojukwu, Esq. – Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission as Chairman; Tijani Mohammed, Esq. —Police Service Commission —Member; David I. Shagba, Esq. —Public Complaints Commission -Member; Hashimu Argungu — Deputy Inspector General of Police (Rtd) -Member; Professor Etanibi Alemika —University of Jos —Member; Chino Obiagwu, SAN —Chairman, Human Rights Agenda Network -Member; Ms Iyabode Ogunseye —Nigerian Bar Association —Member; and Abdulrahman Ayinde Yakubu— National Human Rights Commission/Secretary of the Panel.”
He went on “The Panel called for and received 113 complaints on alleged human rights violations from across the country and 22 memoranda on suggestions on how to reform and restructure SARS and the Nigeria Police in general. It sat in the six geopolitical zones of the country to afford complainants and the Police the opportunity to present and defend the allegations.
“At the end of its public hearing and having listened to complaints as well as defendants and their counsel, the Panel recommended thirty seven (37) Police ofﬁcers for dismissal from the force. Twenty four (24) were recommended for prosecution. The panel also directed the Inspector General of Police to unravel the identity of twenty two (22) ofﬁcers involved in the violation of the human rights of innocent Citizens. The police was directed to pay compensation of various sums in forty—ﬁve (45) complaints and tender public apologies in ﬁve (5) complaints and directed to obey court orders in ﬁve (5) matters. The Police was directed to immediately arrest and prosecute two (2) retired senior Police ofﬁcers found to have violated the rights of citizens (one for extra-judicial killing and the other for illegal takeover of Property of a suspect). The Panel also recovered two vehicles illegally auctioned by SARS Ofﬁcers and returned them to their owners
“Some of the other key recommendations of the Panel include: a. Signiﬁcant improvement in the funding, kitting and facilities of the Nigeria Police Force; b. Strengthening Information and Communication Technology of the Force; c. Establishment of State and local government Police;”
“d. Institutionalizing a Special Investigation Panel to annually hear and determine complaints on alleged human rights violations against operations of the Nigeria Police Force;
“e. Strengthening the Police Rapid Response Complaints Unit of the Nigeria Police and other internal complaints mechanisms of the Force to make them more responsive;
“f. Renaming the Special Anti—Robbery Squad (SARS) to Anti-Robbery Section (ARS) which was its original name and to make the section operate under the intelligence arm of the Police from the divisional, area command, state command, zonal command up to the Force Headquarters level. This will also remove the stigma presently associated with the name SARS;”