Human Rights Commission wakes up, gets set to investigate SARS over rights’ violations

The #ENDSARS mass protests by Nigerian youths appears to have made the National Human Rights Commission (NERC) wake up to its responsibilities. Commission at a Multi-Stakeholders’ Forum (MSF) in Abuja organised by the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Tony Ojukwu Esq. and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, after disbandment of SARS by the IGP, indicated preparations to investigate human rights violation by SARS operatives.

The NHRC Chief Executive Officer disclosed that “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.” He added that all complaints would be investigated by the commission to ensure justice prevails.

Ojukwu explained that the Forum was part of the reform process of the Nigeria Police which President Muhammadu Buhari has directed. He said the Forum has the duty to recommend the psychological evaluation, training and retraining of disbanded SARS officials prior to re-deployment to other units of the Force.

It was indicated that the commission and the Inspector General of Police had an agreement that the IG of Police should instruct all State Police Commands to eschew from the use of force against protesters and to unconditionally release all arrested protesters and citizens.

Ojukwu added that the Forum decided to set up the following Technical Committees, to be supported by the NHRC and other Civil Society Organisations to come up with a roadmap and work plan for the implementation of the White Paper of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of SARS which covers;

– Training, Capacity and Re-Orientation

– Logistics: Infrastructure, Communications and Technology

– Arrest, Detention and Investigations

– Regulations, Oversight and Accountability

– Finance and Partnerships.

According to him, the reform of the Nigerian Police Force will focus on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other Acts of the parliament  like the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act, 2019, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, The National Human Rights Commission Act, 2010 among others.

The Human Rights boss acknowledged that the five-point demands of the ENDSARS movement relating to ensuring justice for victims of SARS brutality and better working conditions for police personnel are genuine, assuring that they will be considered by the federal government.

The five-point demands were accordingly accepted by the Presidential Committee of the Reform of the Nigeria Police on Tuesday.