The National Human Rights Commission has urged State Governments to take immediate action in providing compensation to individuals affected by the Nigerian Police’s brutality, harassment, extortion, and extrajudicial killings, following the findings of their constituted Judicial Panel of Inquiry.
The Executive Secretary, Dr Tony Ojukwu SAN, made this known at the #ENDSARS Judicial Panel Review Report Launch, held in Abuja.
He stressed the importance of implementing the recommended compensations for petitioners who have suffered the loss of their family members or loved ones, emphasizing the urgency for justice and redress.
He said that the State Government should make it a matter of priority to pay victims and not wait for the Federal Government to make funds available before administering justice for victims of police brutality.
“As a matter of urgency, State government should set up Human Rights Committees that will deal with matters of human rights violations to forestall future occurrence that will trigger another ENDSARS protest that will lead to massive human rights violation on a large scale” Ojukwu said.
The report looked at 29 states that established State Investigative Panel of Inquiry, using, Anambra, FCT, Lagos and Oyo as focal states to carry out their analysis of how effective the State Investigative panels were in tackling petitions on police brutality.
Ikemesit Effiong one of the researchers, who spoke via Zoom, noted that most of the States panels were not Independent and transparent.
Some of the panels suffered from insufficient funding and some panels had to suspend their sitting which affected the effectiveness of the hearing. And some states are yet to execute the recommendation of their panels.
Mr Chinonye Obiagwu, Chairman Human Rights Institute of the Nigerian Bar Association who was a panellist at the event, disclosed that vulnerable people such as indigents and women constituted a large number of persons who brought petitions to the Panel of Inquiry.
Obiagwu who also was a Counsel at the National SARS Panel stated that there was a huge demand for justice but its supply remains very little due to heavy intimidation and impunity on the part of the police.
He lamented that there is a lack of political will by the government to deal with these petitions which has further emboldened the police with impunity.
Speaking on the way forward, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice stated that the government has put in place an existing framework that will protect the rights of citizens.
The Police Act 2002, Administration of Criminal Justice Act, Anti-Torture Act to mention a few there to protect citizens from human rights abuses.
Felix Ota- Okojie who represented the Minister further commended the Commission for paying over 400m to victims of police brutality in cases of enforced killings, unlawful arrest, a threat to life, destruction/confiscation /seizure of property, abuse of office and extra-judicial killings.
Okojie further called on all stakeholders to actively get involved in the implementation of the legal framework and extant laws of the country that protects the rights of citizen.BEWARE All Rights Reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without prior express written permission from Juliana Francis