- The National Human Rights Commission has inaugurated an investigative panel on SARS
- The commission said it has also called on members of the public to bring forward their complaints against the special police unit
- The panel will sit in Abuja and the six geopolitical zones of the country
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has reportedly inaugurated a seven-man Special Investigative Panel to look into the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police and make recommendations for its reform.
A statement on Tuesday, September 4, by the commission in Abuja said the investigative panel was inaugurated in line with a presidential directive, The Punch reports.
Recall that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had, while acting as the president during President Muhammadu Buhari’s 10-day vacation in the United Kingdom last month, expressed concerns about the allegations of human rights abuses levelled against SARS.
Osinbajo had then ordered the inspector general of police, Ibrahim Idris, to reform the police formation.
NAIJ.com gathered that the presidency had also directed the NHRC to investigate the activities of SARS and make recommendations on how to reform it.
The NHRC said that it had complied with the presidential directive by inaugurating the special investigative panel to look into the activities of SARS.
The statement read in part: “In line with the presidential directive, the commission has issued call for memoranda in two national dailies, requesting members of the public to bring forward their complaints and has also inaugurated a Special Panel of Investigation for the national assignment.”
It said state and federal agencies of government were also requested to submit their memoranda as well as suggestions on how to reform SARS.
The agencies were also urged to make recommendations to improve policing, public safety and security in general.
According to the statement by the NHRC, the panel will sit in Abuja and the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The panel, during the period of its sitting, is “to listen to complaints from victims of alleged human rights violations against SARS operatives as well as members of the public who have suggestions on reforming SARS and improving public safety and security in Nigeria.”
The panel is expected to “submit its report to the federal government after 90 days of its inauguration.”
According to the commission’s statement, members of the panel included the executive secretary of the NHRC, Tony Ojukwu; the representative of the Police Service Commission, Tijani Mohammed; the representative of Public Service Commission, David I. Shagba; a representative of civil society, Chino Obiagwu.
The rest are a retired deputy inspector general of police, Hashimu Argungu; and an independent expert on policing, Prof Etannibi Alemika.
The seventh member, who is from the NHRC, Abdulrahman Yakubu, is the secretary of the panel.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had earlier reported that Rivers state police command said it would henceforth deal decisively with politicians in the state who are blackmailing and peddling unfounded rumours against members of the force, especially the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) for any crime committed by people who were alleged to be impersonating FSARS.
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