NHRC Decries Continued Killings, Wants Owo Church Attackers Arrested

NHRC logo.

 

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has decried the recent attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo State, asking the Federal Government to track down the perpetrators of the crime.

In a statement on Thursday, the NHRC Governing Council charged the Federal Government to step up to its constitutional role of protecting lives and properties.

“Heinous crimes and killings are being perpetrated with impunity as exemplified in the recent Kaduna train attack, the attack at St. Francis Catholic Church Owo, Ondo State, the killing of a young man Ahmed Usman, at the Lugbe axis of the Federal Capital Territory for alleged blasphemy, the stoning to death of Deborah, a student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto also on grounds of alleged blasphemy, the killing of a pregnant woman Fatima (Harira) and her four children, and various others across the country,” the statement partly read.

READ ALSO: ISWAP Behind Owo Church Attack – National Security Council

Gunmen suspected to be terrorists stormed the church on June 5, killing scores of worshippers while injuring several others.

Four days after the attack, the commission condemned the wanton killing, as well as other attacks by criminals leading to the loss of lives of Nigerians across the country.

While calling for an improvement in the nation’s security situation, the commission urged Nigerians to provide information to security agencies and also tolerate one another.

It also commiserated with the families who have lost their loved ones in various attacks, praying that God grants them the fortitude to bear irreparable losses.

According to the NHRC, it is fully committed to playing its role in the promotion, protection and enforcement of the human rights of the citizens of Nigeria as well as all residents therein.

‘Oxygen Of Democracy,’ NHRC Asks Nigerian Govt To Protect, Support Journalists

A photo combination of emblems of some media outfits in Nigeria.

 

The press is a critical agent for the protection of democracy and development and must be supported to enable them to effectively discharge their constitutional duties as the watchdog of the society, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has said.

It observed that Nigerian journalists fought very hard to achieve the nation’s democratic status and deserve a better deal, unlike the current situation where many of them struggle with poor conditions of service among other challenges, including censorship, harassment, intimidation, and in some cases, assassinations.

NHRC Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu, made the remarks on the eve of the celebration of the 2022 World Press Freedom Day which is commemorated annually on May 3.

He asked the society to see journalists as “the oxygen of democracy and agents of change and development,” adding that their constitutional duty which is enshrined in Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution as amended – “to hold the government accountable to the people” distinguishes them as those who perform an essential duty to the nation.

“At this time when Nigeria is at the crossroad of challenge of justice, equity, and fairness to stabilise our democracy, the press must defend democracy by its commitment to holding our governments accountable to the truth always no matter the difficulties of the times.

“It must remain the conscience of the nation, telling the truth at times like this, to save our democracy,” said a statement on Tuesday by the NHRC spokesperson, Fatimah Mohammed.

“This year’s theme for the celebration of World Press Freedom Day – “Journalism under digital siege” is apt as it seeks to bring to the fore, “the impact of the digital era on the freedom of the press, the security of journalists and access to information and privacy”.

 

Human Rights Defenders

The Chief Human Rights Officer stated that it is incontestable that the advent of the internet with the attendant boost in digital communication has benefited humanity in various ways, “but at the same time, it has threatened our right to privacy, since virtually nothing is hidden from the internet radar.

Ojukwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said, “It is on this note that I commend UNESCO for championing the proposed World Press Freedom Day Global Conference scheduled to hold between May 2 and 5 in Punta Del Este, Uruguay.

“The conference would be a forum for key players in the internet-related companies, legal experts, journalists, etc to discuss the challenges of digital communications, the impact on press freedom, and the way forward.”

According to the learned silk, the commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day is not an opportunity to witch-hunt any person or institution but is a period to reminisce the fundamental principles of press freedom, gauge the state of press freedom globally, defend the media from attacks on their independence, and to pay tribute to journalists who are either human rights defenders in custody or captivity or have lost their lives in the line of duty.

He, therefore, urged the law enforcement agencies, including the police to, as a matter of necessity, intensify their investigations to unravel the circumstances surrounding the death of some Nigerian journalists, including that of late Vanguard newspaper, Tordue Salem, whose body was reportedly found in Abuja in 2021.

The observance of World Press Freedom Day, which started in 1993 and is celebrated on May 3 annually, is designed to remind governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and to remind journalists of the need to adhere to their professional ethics, defend democracy, justice, equity, and fairness and be committed as human rights defenders.

Labour Day: Gbajabiamila Salutes Nigerian Workers, Promises Better Welfare

Gbajabiamila is asking political appointees to resign before seeking elective posts in the next polls.

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has joined millions of Nigerians to salute the country’s workers on the celebration of this year’s International Workers’ Day.

Speaker Gbajabiamila, who commended the resilience, commitment and dedication of the Nigerian workers, said their efforts would never go in vain.

Read Also: Labour Rights Critical To Inclusive Development – NHRC

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, Gbajabiamila said he was glad that the Nigerian workers have lived up to expectations over the years, noting that they remain the backbone of the Nigerian working force.

The Speaker said every well-meaning Nigerian must identify with the workers because of their invaluable contributions to nation-building.

He urged Nigerian workers to keep hope alive stating that governments at all levels as well as the private sector are trying to make life better for them.

Gbajabiamila said he was proud of the Nigerian workers because of the way they have been conducting themselves over the years.

Labour Rights Critical To Inclusive Development – NHRC

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has urged government at all levels to observe international best practices in handling labour-related matters.

The Executive Secretary of the Commission Tony Ojukwu (SAN) stated this as Nigeria joins the rest of the global community to commemorate the 2022 International Workers Day (IWD).

He stated that prioritising the rights of workers is critical given that human resources remain the drivers of development in any clime.

Read Also: [Labour Day] Workers Hold Rallies, Advocate For Better Welfare

He further stated that entrenching good working relations between employers and employees both in the government and private sectors in Nigeria will bring about industrial harmony rather than suspicion, tension, and strike which all come with their attendant negative tolls on the society.

Chief Ojukwu (SAN) observed that Nigeria as a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), cannot afford to renege on the acceptable standards of relationship with the workforce.

The Chief Human Rights Officer opined that it is interesting to note that Nigeria as a Member of the ILO has always deployed dialogue as a mechanism for addressing disagreements and grievances involving Labour, adding that continuing in that manner will not only portray the nation in good light but also reinforce the confidence of workers in the government.

On the current strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and three other labour unions, the NHRC Boss enjoined the federal government to expedite action to resolve the current impasse with ASUU so as not to further endanger the right to education of the university students who have lost an academic year as a result of the unfortunate strike.

“Incessant ASUU strike has continued to constitute a major threat to the right to Education of students of our tertiary institutions especially the public Universities where the grater population of our youth attend”.

The human rights Czar regretted that the University strikes deform qualitative and productive education for the Nigerian youth and consequently, “education which is regarded as the fulcrum for national development is truncated” he lamented.

He said the ongoing ASUU strike has also taken an ugly toll on the lives and livelihood of family members of the affected lecturers as most of them reportedly find it difficult to cope with the basic responsibilities of taking care of their families.

The Executive Secretary is therefore using the opportunity of the IWD to call on the government to call the ASUU back to the negotiation table, pointing out that while the union cannot have all their demands met at once, the government could intervene to urgently take care of the most disturbing demands, pending when more resources are available to do more.

According to the learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria, it is not in doubt that most of the demands being made by ASUU are genuine, saying that merited allowances, improved facilities and infrastructures are not in any way bogus expectations that cannot be taken care of, considering the positive effects these will have on our universities.

He stated that the preference of University Transparent Accountability Solution (UTAS) to IPPIS by ASUU is something that the government could look into with a view to possibly making some necessary adjustments that will be favourable to both parties.

He called on all the parties to use the opportunity of this year’s IWD to resolve all issues outstanding on the strike and get the students back to school and stop the further violation of their right to education and development.

NHRC Receives Over 139,780 Sexual, Gender-Based Violence Complaints In 15 Months

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has decried the increasing cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Nigeria, saying it received over 139,780 complaints between 2020 and March 2021.

NHRC Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu, stated this on Thursday in Abuja at an event to commemorate the 2021 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (IDEVW).

According to him, the theme of this year’s celebration, “Orange the World: End Violence Against Women Now!” is very apt as it resonates hope that reversing the trend of gender violence, particularly against women and girls is possible.

The chief human rights officer in the country explained that the increase in the number of SGBV in the last couple of years was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic which led to lockdown in several parts of the globe, including Nigeria.

When people are locked down, he said, there is a high tendency that their inert behaviour will manifest more, and this has been reflected in the remarkable surge in cases of SBGV in the country and probably elsewhere.

READ ALSO: ‘Nigerians Deserve To Live In Peace,’ Buhari Orders Security Agencies To Intensify Efforts

The NHRC boss, therefore, urged stakeholders to focus more attention on public education/awareness on SGBV and the implementation of extant laws and policies that would entrench the culture of accountability around gender issues.

He also appealed to Civil Society Organisations (CSO), traditional authorities, and religious leaders to be at the forefront in tackling the scourge of SGBV, saying more sensitisation was needed at the grassroots so that people would become more conscious of protecting and enforcing their rights and the consequences and punishments that await any culprit.

“The commission has carried out various programmes and activities, including holding public hearings in the six geopolitical zones of the country to address the upsurge of SGBV cases,” Ojukwu was quoted as saying in a statement by a spokesperson for the NHRC, Fatimah Mohammed.

“The 36 state offices of the NHRC and headquarters have continued to grapple with these cases on daily basis, and we can rightly say that there is hope of changing the ugly narratives.”

The 16 days of activism which starts on Thursday, culminating into December 10 – the International Human Rights Day – is a turning point towards addressing the SGBV scourge across the world, the statement said.

As part of the commission’s activities to mark the 16 days of activism, the human rights chief revealed that the NHRC state offices, including the Abuja metropolitan office were carrying out a series of activities such as advocacy visits to relevant stakeholders with the aim of reminding them of their role in curbing the scourge of the ugly trend.

NHRC Condemns Siege On Justice Odili’s House, Wants Perpetrators Punished

A file photo of Justice Mary-Peter-Odili.

 

The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tony Ojukwu, has condemned and described the Friday, October 29 incident at Justice Mary Odili’s house as a violation of her rights to privacy.

In a statement on Monday, Mr Ojukwu also stated that the siege violated the integrity of Mrs Odili’s judicial personality, premises, and office.

He asked that the perpetrators be made to account for their professional misconduct by arresting and prosecuting them. According to the NHRC secretary, Justice Odili deserves a public apology from those responsible for the professional misconduct.

“These are the only deterrents that can forestall future desecration of the rights to privacy, integrity of the person, residence, and office of our judicial officers especially at that level,” he further stated.

READ ALSO: Wike Gives FG 48-Hour Ultimatum To Probe Raid On Justice Odili’s Residence

Further reacting to the incident over the weekend in Abuja, Ojukwu said the invasion of the residence of one of the most senior judicial officers in the country is highly condemnable in any democratic setup, describing it as another affront to the judiciary.

The human rights boss said the judiciary is a very important arm of the government that should not be ridiculed under any circumstance, (and inexperienced law enforcement officers must be made to know this), adding that the independence of the judiciary must be respected at all times.

“Time has come to punish this kind of professional misconduct by erring law enforcement officers to forestall total destruction of the integrity of judicial offices and the judiciary.

“This should be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians in the interest of our nascent democracy, independence of the judiciary, and respect for human rights and Rule of Law,” NHRC’s spokesperson, Fatimah Agwai Mohammed, quoted Mr Ojukwu as saying.

The NHRC executive secretary further said the commission will not relent in its efforts to continue to train and retrain the law enforcement officials to always mainstream human rights in their operations.

NHRC Seeks Amendment Of Extant Legislation On Treatment/Rehabilitation Of Drug Users

 

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has advocated for the amendment of necessary legislation to provide for the treatment and rehabilitation of drug users, as well as the adoption of non-custodial measures for appropriate cases in order to avoid human rights violations.

Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu Esq. who stated this via zoom at a side event on “Strengthening the Role of the UN Human Rights System in Drug Policies: The Case of Arbitrary Detention” at the 47th Session of the Human Rights Council, which took place on 2nd July 2021, observed that the availability and high consumption of drugs in some parts Nigeria have exposed the young people, who constitute a significant portion of the country’s population, to health challenges.

According to the Executive Secretary, illicit drug use is driven by certain social and economic vulnerabilities and these circumstances continue to be at play even during arrests, detention and trial of suspects.

The human rights Boss started therefore that addressing inequalities through targeted anti-poverty programmes is key to achieving a reduction in drug use and abuse.

READ ALSO: Kaduna Revenue Service Seals Hotels, Hospital Over N22m Tax Liabilities

Continuing, the Chief Human Rights Officer observed that the majority of drug-related crimes leading to arrests and detention are for possession and personal use, pointing out that arbitrary arrests, detention and associated human rights violations are instigated by the criminal provisions of drug laws, prohibiting use and possession.

Ojukwu further opined that decriminalising drug possession and personal use will go a long way to reducing these violations as well as result in the decongestion of Correctional Centres and other detention facilities, thereby reducing running costs and exposure to COVID-19 and other health challenges.

The NHRC Scribe also used the opportunity to urge the executive authorities such as Presidents and Governors, to in line with the powers conferred on them by the Constitution to continuously conduct a review of sentences and exercise their prerogative of mercy towards persons already convicted for drug use.

“Given the stigma associated with drug offences, most persons associated with drug-related offences are not likely to obtain the prerogative of mercy”, Ojukwu noted.

The Executive Secretary also stressed the need to conduct regular training for Personnel and Officers of the Drug Enforcement agencies such as the NDLEA in Nigeria and the Police on international, regional, and national human rights standards, especially regarding arrests and detention, to forestall human rights violations.

“In Nigeria, all forms of arbitrary arrests violate the Constitution and other human rights instruments and usually adopted in such arrests offend sections 5 and 6 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 which prohibits undue restraints except in cases of violence or by a court order.

He also urged the Legislature, the Judiciary and stakeholders in the criminal justice system to strengthen the use of non-custodial measures for drug users who come in conflict with the law as this will respect the rights of suspects and help in decongesting correctional centres.

In conclusion, he called for the strengthening of the promotional mandate of NHRIs by increasing their oversight and watchdog functions on drug enforcement agencies through monitoring and visitation of detention and holding facilities and increased collaboration with civil society organisations and other support groups of drug users to create awareness on human rights standards and other legal protections.

NHRC Calls For More Respect For Human Rights

 

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has joined the rest of Nigerians to commemorate the 2021 Democracy Day, with a call for the need for more respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Executive Secretary of the Commission Tony Ojukwu, made the call on Saturday in the nation’s capital, Abuja as Nigeria marked another Democracy Day.

Ojukwu noted that despite the progress made in the nation’s democracy, the country continues to suffer human rights violations resulting from security challenges, youth unemployment, recurring mass atrocities and crimes, kidnappings, incessant extra-judicial killings and torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, discrimination, injustice and gross inequalities, rape, sexual and gender-based violence, and above all, impunity, weak institutions and lack of political will to hold perpetrators accountable for several types of human rights violations.

He, however, believes that these challenges can be curtailed “if we speak the universal language of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms which are the foundations of any democracy”.

Read Also: Democracy Day: Use Of Teargas Was In Line With Global Standards – Police

He added that democracy and respect for human rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing “the principle of non-discrimination, justice and equality before the law are key in building an inclusive and egalitarian society which leaves no one behind”.

The NHRC boss further called on Nigerians to use the opportunity of the ongoing constitutional reforms to make meaningful contributions to the constitutional amendments so as to have a peaceful and egalitarian society free from discrimination, injustice, inequality and rancor where everyone will be happy and fulfilled as a citizen.

Speaking further, the human rights Chief said, “it is imperative to preserve rights to life and avoid wanton extrajudicial killings in our democracy, asserting that all human beings are born equal in dignity and rights”.

He, therefore, called on the government at all levels to redouble efforts to preserve the lives of citizens by among other things protecting our boders and eliminating the arms and weapons of destruction that are flocking into Nigeria and have littered our land.

Ojukwu lamented that reports have shown that the proliferations of small arms and lights weapons have only ended up making us a people not shocked by violence anymore as we bury our dead victims while the producers and their allies smile to the bank. “We must join hands to support the government in its efforts to stop this dastardly act” he added.

He also enjoined Nigerians not to lose hope but to be optimistic and support the government in building the nation of our dreams “where people will travel without the fear of being kidnapped or robbed, where our children will be in school and we will be at work in peace, where our youths are gainfully employed and shun crime and violence, and businesses will flourish in an enabling environment”.

On killing, maiming and destruction of government properties at this critical time of nationhood, Ojukwu called for the stoppage of such violent and criminal conduct and advised on dialogue and other democratic ways of settling contentious issues in nation-building. “There are better and more civilized ways of expressing grivances” he said.

He commiserated with families of law enforcement personnel who lost their lives in these barbaric attacks and condoled with the families of innocent citizens who may have lost their lives in the cross fire following response to these attacks on police and INEC infrastructure across the country.

The Executive Secretary used the opportunity to commend the Federal Government for recognizing June 12, as the democracy day in Nigeria.

He opined that while it is important to recognize the political actors during the June 12 elections, the people who conducted the election should also be remembered, because that election of unequaled credibility in Nigeria was conducted by Prof Humphrey Nwosu and his National Commissioners, Resident Electoral Commissioners, Directors and other staff. It will be justice if these citizens who made June 12 democracy day possible by conducting the freest and fairest elections in Nigeria’s history, who at the risk of their lives challenged the military government in court for the annulment of June 12 election, are equally honoured, this is not beyond the government. This can become a model for National rebirth and call for patriotism and nationalism amongst Nigerians.

Finally, he pledged the commitment of the NHRC to continue to educate Nigerians about their rights and responsibilities in order to inculcate the culture of respect for human rights in them emphasizing that law enforcement and human rights are mutually reinforcing rather than being anti each other as perceived by most law enforcement personnel.

He, therefore, called for more cooperation and understanding between law enforcement agencies and the Commission as we celebrate our democracy because the primary purpose of law enforcement by the government in a democracy like ours is the security of life and property (protection of human rights) of the people.

Police Brutality: Petitioner Demands ₦200m Compensation For Amputated Leg

Chairman of the FCT Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality, Justice Suleiman Galadima speaks during a sitting in Abuja on November 30, 2020.

 

The National Human Rights Commission Independent Investigation Panel has been asked to compel the Nigeria Police Force to pay a compensation of ₦200 million to a petitioner, Kingsley Kalu who allegedly lost his left leg as a result of an accidental discharge from the rifle of Daniel Akpabio of the FCT Police Command.

At the resumed sitting of the panel in Abuja on Monday, Kalu said that his left leg was amputated in 2017 after there was an accidental discharge from the rifle of a police officer who has been dismissed from the force.

He also asked for a refund of all the hospital bills procured by him and an artificial limb, claiming the police only gave him ₦150,000 since the incident occurred.

READ ALSO: Okorocha Will Be Charged To Court If He Committed An Offence – Police

According to the petitioner, the lawyer to the police opposed the request for compensation to be paid by the Force as he insists that the right person to compensate the petitioner is the dismissed officer, Daniel Akpabio.

After listening to the oral testimony of the petitioner and the cross-examination by the police, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima fixed March 24 for the re-examination of the petitioner.

Stop Hiding Rape Cases, Report Them, NHRC Tells Niger Residents

In this screenshot taken on November 26, 2020, a placard shows an inscription to campaign against rape and gender violence in Niger State.

 

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has raised concern over the increasing cases of rape and gender violence in Niger State.

Addressing reporters on Thursday, NHRC Coordinator in Niger, Nuhu Mohammed, noted that at least 60 cases were reported to the commission annually.

Mohammed, who led a rally in Minna to mark this year’s 16 Days of Activism, stated that the figure could be higher if victims of rape and gender violence were reporting to relevant authorities.

He decried that despite the awareness in place, people still prefer to settle rape cases at home instead of seeking legal redress, a development which he said gave reason for perpetrators to continue to carry out the heinous crime.

READ ALSO: Buhari Must Listen To The People Or Set Nigeria ‘On Fire’ – Wike

A signpost at the NHRC office in Minna, the Niger State capital.

 

“We have received a number of cases. The last submission we submitted to our national office was 20 cases of rape and domestic violence,” the NHRC coordinator said.

He added, “We don’t receive less than five cases on a monthly basis; those are the ones reported, some don’t like to report.

“But even those who report, by the time we want to take the necessary action before you know the victims would go behind the back door and ask for a withdrawal of their case. This is a major setback to the fight against rape and gender violence.”

Mohammed, however, gave an assurance that the NHRC would use the occasion to raise more awareness and pay advocacy visits to relevant bodies that would help in the fight against rape.

He explained that the march was organised to create more awareness for residents to see rape as a crime against the state and should not be settled at home.

A screenshot taken on November 26, 2020, shows a placard with an inscription to campaign against rape and gender violence in Niger State.

 

“Families need to know that hiding a case of rape is an act of wickedness, especially to the victim who will continue to die in silence.

“But if the perpetrator is exposed and justice is sought for the victim, it will encourage more victims to speak up when they are violated,” the NHRC coordinator said.

On her part, the chairperson of the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in Niger, Christiana Barau, commended the Federal Government for signing into law the Violence Against Persons (VAP) Act.

She believes the VAP law will further strengthen the fight against rape and other gender violence offences and stressed the need for enforcement of all the relevant laws against rape.

Women carry placards during a march against rape and gender violence in Niger State on November 26, 2020.

 

Barau said, “The VAP law is a right step in the right direction. It has further expanded the issue of rape and gender violence to cover not just females but all persons.

“The VAP law has also expanded the definition of rape, which means that even penetration with finger and any object is recognised as rape.”

“So, the law is a welcome development as far as FIDA is concerned. We only hope that the VAP law and all the relevant laws that are in place to fight rape are adequately enforced and that offenders are handed due punishment to serve as a deterrent to the entire society,” she added.

The Director-General of the Niger State Child’s Rights Agency, Maryam Kolo, who represented the governor’s wife, Dr Amina Abubakar, and representatives of some civil society organisations in the state participated in the march.

In this screenshot taken on November 26, 2020, a placard shows an inscription to campaign against rape and gender violence in Niger State.

#EndSARS: Sister Narrates How Brother Died In SARS Custody, Police Refusal To Release Corpse

Doris Idedia testifies before the panel.

 

A witness, Doris Idedia, on Wednesday narrated how her brother allegedly died in the custody of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian police and the subsequent refusal by the police to release his corpse to the family.

Idedia speaking before a nine-member panel set up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate allegations of violations of human rights by the police said her brother, Festus Idehen, was arrested in Kaduna and subsequently died in police custody in Abuja.

She told the panel that a police inspector identified only as Kingsley tortured her brother over a false accusation that he stole a car in 2016.


He eventually died on September 6, 2016, three days after he was taken into police custody in Abuja.

“He left us. He didn’t eat anything till he died on the 6th. He died in pain. This is someone that was supposed to be in Canada. He never got there,” Idedia said amid tears.

Mrs Idedia is demanding N200 million compensation from the police over the death of her brother.

Counsel to the police, Malik Taiwo in response requested for more time to get their facts ready for cross-examination.

The chairman of the panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima, therefore adjourned the case to December 15th, for cross-examination.

#EndSARS: NHRC Constitutes Panel To Tackle Human Rights Violations

 

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has constituted an 11-man Independent Investigative Panel (IIP) to look into allegations of human rights violations levelled against the operatives of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigeria Police Force.

NHRC Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu revealed on Friday in Abuja, saying the panel will hear petitions, complaints and memoranda from Nigerians across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT.

The committee headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Suleiman Galadima, is expected to make recommendations to the federal government on how best to reform SARS and other units of the Force.

Other members of the committee include: Other members of the Panel are: Abdulrahaman Yakubu, Yemi Ademolakun, Chioma Chuka, Prof. Ayo Atsenuwa, Tijani Mohammed, Dr. Uju Agomoh, DIG Ibrahim Lamorde, Dr. Garba Tetengi, Feyikemi Abudu, John Aikpokpo Martins, Hilary Ogbonna

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

NHRC CONSTITUTES 11-MAN PANEL TO HALT HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY SARS, OTHER POLICE PERSONNEL

In line with the National Human Rights Commission’s mandate and in response to the nationwide agitations by some Nigerian youth groups under the auspices of End SARS, the NHRC has constituted an 11-man Independent Investigative Panel (IIP) to look into allegations of human rights violations against the defunct SARS and other units of the force.

The Committee headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme  Court, Justice Suleiman Galadima will hear petitions, complaints and memoranda from Nigerians across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, and thereafter make recommendations to the federal government on how best to reform SARS and other units of the Police force.

The Executive Secretary of NHRC, Tony Ojukwu Esq. who made this known in Abuja Friday evening noted that the terms of reference of the Panel include, investigate all complaints of human rights violations against SARS and other units of the Police force, make appropriate recommendations as per the damages and compensations to be paid to the victims of Police brutality.

Besides, the Panel is given the powers to refer any matter, in the course of their assignment to the Attorney General of the Federation, or that of a State for prosecution in accordance with the law.

The panel is empowered as well to make recommendations to government on measures to be taken in respect of operatives of defunct SARS or officers of the Nigerian Police Force, if any, found in violation of human rights of citizens and propose remedial steps that may enhance the professional conduct of defunct SARS operatives, any succeeding unit and other members of the Nigerian Police Force and any other recommendations that may be considered appropriate.

Other members of the Panel are:

. Member – Abdulrahaman Yakubu

. Member – Yemi Ademolakun

. Member – Chioma Chuka

. Member – Prof. Ayo Atsenuwa

. Member – Tijani Mohammed

. Member – Dr. Uju Agomoh

. Member – DIG Ibrahim Lamorde

. Member – Dr. Garba Tetengi, SAN, mni

.Member – Feyikemi Abudu

.Member – John Aikpokpo Martins

.Secretary of the Panel – Hilary Ogbonna

Ojukwu also disclosed that all petitions, complaints and memoranda must reach the Commission, which is the Secretariate of the Panel on or before 31 October, 2020.