National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has commenced public sitting of the presidential investigation panel on Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.
The Executive Secretary NHRC, Tony Ojukwu Esq said the presidential panel on SARS was constituted to hear, investigate and determine complaints of alleged human rights violations against SARS and make recommendation to the Federal Government on how to reform it.
He said some of the complaints levied against SARS include issues of alleged abuse of power, arbitrary/unlawful arrest and detention, enforced disappearance, extra-judicial killings among others.
According to Ojukwu, these allegations prompted the then Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo to request the NHRC to “constitute this panel for the purposes of hearing and investigating the complaints against SARS and make recommendations to government on how SARS can be reformed”.
Members of the panel are drawn from key strata of the society including government agencies, civil society organizations, professional bodies like NBA and the academia.
The representative of the Inspector General of Police, DCP Ben Okolo pledged the cooperation of the Nigeria Police to the panel saying the outcome of the panel will assist in reforming the Nigeria Police.
The representative of the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Office of the Vice President (OVP) Mr. Akingbolahan Adeniran who is also the Rule of law Advisor OVP advised the panel to adopt high sense of professionalism during the sitting, saying confidentiality is key as this could protect the complainants.
Mr. Adeniran expressed optimism that the outcome of the sittings will bring a bright future for the Nigeria Police
The panel is expected to hear 27 complainants at the first sitting in the North Central Zone, similar sittings will take place in other geopolitical zones.