SARS: Presidential panel dismisses 37, pledges further prosecution

SARS: Presidential panel dismisses 37, pledges further prosecution

The Police Service Commission (PSC) on Friday, October 16, stated that at least 37 former members of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) had been recommended for dismissal by a presidential panel set up by the Federal Government to reform the controversial police unit.

This was disclosed by the PSC spokesman, Ikechukwu Ani, who said the panel also recommended the prosecution of 24 other ex-SARS operatives for various acts of misconduct.

According to Ani, these were the highlights of the report of the panel set up in 2018 by the government.

The panel investigated allegations of human rights violations and abuse of office against SARS; and recommended reform or restructuring of the outfit.

The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tony Ojukwu, who presented the report to the PSC Chairman, Musiliu Smith, in Abuja, called for speedy implementation of the panel recommendations.

Also Read: Poju Oyemade: Renowned cleric recalls how wife was detained, dehumanised by SARS officials

He, however, expressed optimism that Smith would deal appropriately with the report of the panel.

The statement reads: Ojukwu said at the end of the public hearing; the panel recommended 37 police officers for dismissal and 24 were recommended for prosecution.

“The panel also directed the Inspector -General of Police to unravel the identity of 22 officers; involved in the violation of the human rights of innocent citizens.”

“Mr. Smith, who received the report, said the PSC would collaborate; and support the NHRC in the promotion of good governance.

“He, however, said that for effective reform of ‘the much-maligned SARS;’ there must be a deliberate effort to select capable; professional; and credible people to replace the disbanded outfit.”

Meanwhile, the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday, October 16, has mandated the state governments to inaugurate panels of inquiry to unravel cases of police brutality against Nigerians.

This was contained in a statement issued by the spokesman to Osinbajo, Laolu Akande.

Furthermore, the NEC requested that the state governors; and the FCT minister should take charge of interface and contact with the protesters in their respective domains.

“Rising from its monthly meeting, the National Economic Council has directed the immediate establishment of state-based Judicial Panels of Inquiry across the country to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extrajudicial killings with a view to delivering justice for all victims of the dissolved SARS and other police units,” a communiqué issued by Osinbajo after the meeting stated.

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