NHRC begins investigation of SARS unlawful acts in S-South, receives 17 petitions

SARS operatives in conference

By Davies Iheamnachor

PORT HARCOURT: The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, has received 17 different complaints of alleged torture, molestation and extra-judicial killings against the operatives of Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, in the South-South region.

This came as NRHC commenced investigations into alleged human rights violations in the region by SARS at a panel organised in conjunction with CLEEN Foundation and Network of Police Reform Nigeria, NOPRIN, in Port Harcourt, Monday.

Speaking, Tony Ojukwu, ESQ, the Executive Secretary, NHRC noted that based on the directive by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, mandating NHRC to investigate the allegations of human rights abuses against SARS, that the rights commission has received many complaints over the violation of their rights by SARS.

He said: “In line with the statutory responsibility of the commission to investigate and determine cases of alleged human rights violations and in recognition of the seriousness and severity of these complaints which has huge human rights implications.

“The commission in collaboration with CLEEN Foundation and Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, NOPRIN, has set-up this Special Investigative Panel, SIP, to conduct Public Hearing to investigate and determine the complaints received by the Commission in the South South and South East Geo-political zones.”

Meanwhile, the National Coordinator, NOPRIN, Okechukwu Nwanguma, described the order of the IGP, Ibrahim Idris, on reform of SARS as hasty, adding that it cannot achieve the desired change.

Nwanguma said: “NOPRIN therefore, calls on the IGP to go back to the drawing board, and fashion a new, more embracing and inspiring set of reforms for SARS.

“A set of measures more credible, purposeful and efficacious than the ones he has just released. In addition to this, NOPRIN urges the IGP to undertake similar but far-reaching measures to reform the police force as a whole, and not focus on SARS alone.”

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