SARS operatives

A Special Investigative Panel has been inaugurated by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to look into the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police and make recommendations for its reform.

In a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, the NHRC said the seven-man investigative panel had complied with the presidential directive to look into the activities of SARS.

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The statement added, “In line with the presidential directive, the commission has issued a 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; a representative of the Police Service Commission, Tijani Mohammed; a representative of Public Service Commission, David I. Shagba; a representative of civil society, Chino Obiagwu.

The rest is 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.