READ PRESS STATEMENT BY TONY OJUKWU, ESQ EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ON THE DETERMINATION OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO PUT AN END TO GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY SARS/POLICE OPERATIVES.
By Princely Onyenwe, Imo
The National Human Rights Commission has commended the courage and display of mark of a listening Government through the disbandment of SARS by the Federal Government. This followed an announcement this afternoon by the Inspector General of a Police, Mohammed Adamu mni.
In line with its mandate of promoting, protecting and enforcing human rights in Nigeria, the NHRC has been monitoring reports from individual victims and the media with respect to human rights violation of innocent members of the public by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) as well as other police units across the country.
The Commission is equally aware of the public outcry to scrap SARS so as to put an end to these violations which has now been met by the Federal Government as a mark of its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights of Nigerians.
The Right to protest is a constitutionally protected right as long as it is carried out responsibly and without resulting in the violation of the rights of any member of the public including law enforcement personnel.
You will recall that earlier, the federal government responded to public outcry against human rights violations by SARS in constituting a special Presidential investigation panel with a broad-based membership including the civil society to investigate these allegations and make appropriate recommendations to sanction any SARS operatives found to have violated human rights of members of the public and to also suggest measures to reform SARS.
With the initial and right step to disband SARS by the IGP as part of the recommendations of the Presidential Panel, the stage is now set to implement the other recommendations of the panel and in this regard, the government had requested the Commission to constitute a broad based implementation committee inclusive of relevant government agencies and civil society organisations to ensure the transparent, comprehensive and accountable implementation of the white paper on the presidential panel report.
The Commission assures Nigerians that the federal government is wholly committed to protecting the human rights of all Nigerians in accordance with the 1999 Constitution as amended, Nigeria’s international human rights obligations and respect for the rule of law.
Nigerians should appreciate the critical role being played by the Nigerian police and Special Anti-Robbery Squad in bursting armed robbery and other heinous crimes in the country even at the risk of their personal safety and some of them have paid the supreme sacrifice too.
However, law enforcement must be carried out bearing in mind constitutional guarantees of human rights, in particular respect for the life and dignity of human person and with utmost professionalism.
Consequently, the SARS/police officers tarnishing the image of government and the police force should be made to be accountable.
The National Human Rights Commission, more than ever before is wholly committed to working with all stakeholders, state and non-state actors to raise the bar of human rights protection, and enforcement in the country.
The Commission urges every one of us, including the protesters, to be more vigilant, law abiding and give the ongoing process a chance to resolve all the current issues that have been canvased by Nigerians and to report any form of human rights violations or reprisals to the Commission through its various channels.
Tony Ojukwu Esq
Executive Secretary NHRC
11th Oct 2020.
9News Nigeria (Owerri)
For inquiries on this news contact 9News Nigeria Imo state @ 08036856526