Payment of compensation one step to

dbe national human rights commission of nigeria nhrc
dbe national human rights commission of nigeria nhrc

The Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mr Tony Ojukwu, SAN, yesterday, said the payment of compensation to the victims of police violations was one step to the road of justice.

Ojukwu made the remark in Abuja, at the presentation of the report of the independent investigative panel on human rights violations against SARS and other units of the Nigeria Police.

The panel, set up by the Federal Government in November 2020, investigated violations of human rights by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units, during the #EndSARS protest.

The 11-member panel was headed by retired Justice Suleiman Galadima.Ojukwu disclosed that the Justice Galadima led panel sat over 200 petitions in two years.”Out of these, the NHRC awarded compensation to 100 victims to ensure that justice is served to the petitioners.

Today, we are finally closing a chapter in the work of the panel, but opening a new one for the commission and all governmental institutions that will be charged with the implementation of the report.

“These include the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police,” he said.

Ojukwu said there was still the need to hold indicted officers of the police accountable for the violations. He said the commission welcomed the panel’s decisions, including its recommendations on police reforms, to ensure effective and human rights centred policing.

“I want to assure Nigerians, particularly the victims and their families, that the commission will do everything possible to ensure that the decisions are implemented. The commission is also pleased that the panel has made far reaching recommendations on other spheres of justice delivery and human rights enforcement, including the payment of judgment awards.”

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Also, police relationship with legal representatives of victims and institutional reforms in medical institutions for compliance with the release of the compulsory treatment of gunshot wounds and release of dead bodies, amongst other reforms,” he said.Speaking earlier, Justice Galadima thanked everyone who, in one way or the other, helped in making the panel’s work a success.”We are here to submit the final report of the panel after almost two years. We pray that the government will implement the recommendations.The commission should harmonise these various reports of all the panels and urgently submit the same to the Federal Government for quick action.”We cannot forget to appreciate our police and civil defence team who ensured the safety and security of the panel throughout the seasons,” he said.Giving the report on the fact sheet, the Secretary to the panel, Mr Hiliary Ogbonna, said according to geo-political zones, the North Central reported 60 percent of the petitions received. He added that the South South followed by 15.5 percent, South East 11, South West nine, and North West, 2.9.”The panel fully decided on 95 petitions, 54 were withdrawn, 33 struck out, 57 referred to NHRC, 56 were judgment debt petitions, totalling 295 petitions received. Police personnel recommended for prosecution are 28, for dismissal, 25, for disciplinary actions, 15, and four for reduction in rank, totalling 72 indictments on police personnel.”For the compensations paid, extra judicial killings attracted N219.8 million payment to 39 petitioners, seven people received N52.5 million for enforced disappearance, unlawful arrest and detention attracted N9 million and N27 million, respectively.“For torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, 30 people received N82.4 million; for threat to life, six people got N22.5 million; for confiscation and seizure of property, six people received N27.5 million and for abuse of office, three petitioners received N7 million. The total amount is N438.8 million,” he said.