Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Presidential panel recommends dismissal of 35 SARS officials and prosecution of 33

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The Presidential Investigative Panel on Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) investigating rights abuses and other inhuman treatment by men of the now-disbanded police unit has recommended the dismissal of 35 police personnel, who served in the unit for engaging in various forms of misconduct, including extra-judicial killings.

It also recommended 33 for prosecution, 23 for reduction in ranks and two to be arrested and prosecuted.

Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Tony Ojukwu, stated these when he led a team of officials of the agency to submit the panel’s report to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

The panel recommended 26 cases for further investigation by the police, 57 in which victims are to be compensated and two cases in which pending court orders are to be obeyed by the police. It recommended public apology over 32 cases, to be published in newspapers and other means.

The recommendations affect cases distilled from 13 states, with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) having the largest number of people recommended for dismissal.

It has 12 and followed by Imo with seven, Lagos with six, Akwa Ibom with four, Kaduna with two Enugu, Delta, Ogun and Rivers having one each.

Other states in respect of which recommendations were made are Benue, Gombe, Kogi and Kwara.

The FCT also led in the number of cases in which the panel recommended compensation, with 17 cases, followed by Lagos with 15 and Ogun and Enugu with four each.

On compensation, the panel recommended the payment of money ranging from N500,000 to N20 million to some of the identified victims as well as to families of deceased victims.

Some of the indicted SARS operatives were directed to personally pay the compensation.

The Police was also found liable and asked to pay some of the victims.