Buhari asks IGP, others to work out modalities President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday received the report of a presidential panel which recommended the creation of state and local government police to tackle the insecurity bedevilling the country. The presidential panel on the reform of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria police was chaired by the […]

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  • Buhari asks IGP, others to work out modalities

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday received the report of a presidential panel which recommended the creation of state and local government police to tackle the insecurity bedevilling the country.

The presidential panel on the reform of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria police was chaired by the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tony Ojukwu.

The president directed the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu and the Solicitor General of the Federation to meet with the NHRC to

work out the modalities for the implementation of the report within three months.

The panel also recommended for a significant improvement in the funding, kitting and facilities of the Nigeria Police Force.

The panel further recommended for strengthening of the Information and Communication Technology of the Force.

It called for the institutionalization of a Special Investigation Panel to annually hear and determine complaints on alleged human rights violations against operations of the Nigeria Police Force.

The panel said the establishment would assist in addressing the security challenges in the country.

SARS abuse: Panel recommends sack of 37 officers

The panel further recommended 37 police officers for dismissal from the force over human rights violations. It also pencilled down 24 other police officers for prosecution.

The panel also directed the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to unravel the identity of 22 officers involved in the violation of the human rights of innocent citizens.

“The police was directed to pay compensation of various sums in 45 complaints and tender public apologies in five complaints and directed to obey court orders in five matters.

“The Police was directed to  immediately arrest and prosecute two retired senior Police officers found to have violated the rights of citizens (one for extra-judicial killing and the other for illegal takeover of property of a suspect),” Ojukwu said.

He said the panel also recovered two vehicles illegally auctioned by SARS officers and returned them to their owners.

President Buhari said, “I hereby direct that since the recommendations of the Commission that constituted the Panel are enforceable as decisions of the Court, that the Inspector General of Police and the Solicitor General of the Federation/Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice meet with the Commission to work out the modalities for the implementation of the Report within three months from today (yesterday).”

The president said reforming and repositioning of the Nigeria Police Force to be more effective and efficient in safeguarding lives and properties, apprehending offenders and generally improving the internal security, has been one of the major policies of his administration.

“In order to reposition the Nigeria Police Force to effectively carry out its statutory responsibilities, I have taken major steps by increasing the workforce of the Nigeria Police as well as improving the welfare of Police officers, because they put their lives on the front line on a daily basis so that the rest of us may freely go about our business in safety.

“However, in carrying out their statutory responsibilities, the Police must at all times act within the ambit of the law and must not violate the fundamental human rights of Nigerians whom they have sworn to protect.

“Where the rights of Nigerians are violated by Police Officers while discharging their functions, the Government has a responsibility to address the instances of violation in line with its human rights obligations and ensure that such Police Officers are held accountable for their actions,” he said.

The president said it was in recognition of their obligations under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and International Human Rights Laws, that his administration decided to set up the Presidential Panel and directed the National Human Rights Commission to constitute its membership in order to investigate the various public outcries and media reports alleging human rights violations against citizens by officers of SARS.

He said panel was empowered to make appropriate recommendations not just for holding Police Officers found wanting accountable, but also, on ways SARS and by extension, the Nigeria Police could be generally reformed.

“The decision directing the National Human Rights Commission to constitute the membership of the panel and to take the lead in investigating the said allegations of human rights violation, was borne out of the mandate of the National Human Rights Commission which include the promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights in Nigeria as enshrined under sections 5 and 6 of the NHRC Act, 1995 (as amended).

“It is also in recognition of the fact that the decisions, determinations and recommendations of the Commission are binding and enforceable as provided under section 22 of the NHRC Act, 1995 (as amended).

“I believe that the Report of the Panel and recommendations contained therein would go a long way in redressing the grievances of the complainants, ensure accountability on the part of the Police Officers in discharging their responsibilities and facilitate the various Police reforms being introduced by this administration,” the president said.

He said his administration will continue to fulfil its obligations of promoting and protecting human rights of Nigerians, and will give the National Human Rights Commission all the support required to ensure full implementation of the recommendations contained in its Report.

The president said he has approved the reconstitution of the Governing Council of the NHRC and that names of the Council members will be submitted to the National Assembly for confirmation before the inauguration of the Council in line with NHRC Act, 1995 (as amended).

Daily Trust reports that President Buhari had in January this year explained his opposition to the creation of state police.

Speaking in an interview with Arise TV, President Buhari asked rhetorically, “Do you know what can happen if you can’t feed the Police? Do you just give him uniform and a gun but can’t pay him salaries for six months?

“It’s going to be a problem and I don’t want to be a part of it. I have a problem with the Police and I told them that, from my training and experience, the Police are supposed to be in the front line.”

 

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Source:Daily Trust