72 police officers have been indicted in a report submitted by an Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations against SARS and other units of the Nigerian Police to the National Human Rights Commission on Tuesday September 27.
There were also strong recommendations and penalties against the police officers who were found guilty of the allegations levelled against them.
While 28 of them were recommended for prosecution, 25 were recommended for dismissal, 15 for disciplinary actions, and four were recommended for demotion.
Chairman of the IIP-HRV-A-SARS, Justice Suleiman Galadima, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, said the panel went through 200 petitions from 29 states since its inauguration two years ago.
Secretary of the Panel, Hilary Ogbonna disclosed that the subject matters of the petitions were wrongful demotion, extortion, police harassment and intimidation, unlawful seizure of property, disobedience to court orders, denial of access to justice, abuse of office, and enforced disappearance.
Other areas include a threat to life, unlawful arrest and detention, nonpayment of a judgment sum, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, and violation of the right to life.
Receiving the report, NHRC Executive Secretary, Chief Tony Ojukwu, SAN, said the commission will continue to work towards wiping impunity from the country.
A total of N438, 884, 094 has been paid to victims of police brutality, while 54 petitions brought before the panel were withdrawn due to harassment, intimidation, and threats to the victims’ lives by the police.
Ojukwu who revealed that the NHRC would ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the panel, further disclosed that payment of compensation and holding indicted officers of the Nigeria Police accountable for the violation of the rights of the people are the first steps on the road to justice.
“I welcome the decisions and indictments issued by the Justice Galadima panel, and I want to assure Nigerians and the victims and their families that the National Human Rights Commission will do everything possible to ensure that the decisions are implemented.
“We will work with the police, relevant committees of the National Assembly, civil society, and development partners to implement the panel’s recommendations on police reforms to ensure effectiveness and human rights-centred policing.”
Ojukwu said the efforts of the Nigerian youths during the #EndSARS protests would not be in vain.