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EndSARS: Panel indicts 72 policemen, awards N439m compensation to victims

Seventy two police officers have been indicted by the Independent Investigation Panel on Human Rights Violations against the disbanded Special Armed Robbery Squad (SARS).  The…

Seventy two police officers have been indicted by the Independent Investigation Panel on Human Rights Violations against the disbanded Special Armed Robbery Squad (SARS). 

The panel, which recalled that it was inaugurated on October 21, 2020 after youths across the federation protested against rights violations by the defunct SARS.

The panel also recommended payment of N438.88m to the victims of alleged police brutality.

The secretary of the panel, Hilary Ogbonna, who presented the report to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), said 28 police personnel were recommended for prosecution following their indictment in cases of police brutality.

He said 25 police personnel were recommended for dismissal; four for reduction of ranks; and 15 others for disciplinary actions.

Ogbonna said amongst all petitions submitted to the panel, 71 bothered on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the police officers; 64 on violation of rights to life; 38 on unlawful arrest and detentions; 55 on non-payment of judgment sum.

He said out of 295 petitions decided upon, 95 were fully decided; 54 cases were withdrawn because the victims decided to leave the issue to God; while some said they were threatened by the police to withdraw the cases.

He gave the number of petitions according to geo-political zones as North-Central, 60 percent; North-East, 1.6; South-West, 9; South-South, 15.5; South-East, 11 and North-West, 2.9.

The chairman of the panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima, said the panel, which sat for two years, hoped the Federal Government would urgently look the report and the recommendations with a view to implement them.

While receiving the report, Executive Secretary, NHRC, Tony Ojukwu, said there was the need to hold indicted officers accountable.