By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA—CITIZENS with disabilities, on the platform of Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, CCD, on Monday, demanded inclusion in the panels of inquiry being set up by state governments on the activities of the dissolved Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, F-SARS.
This was contained in a statement by the Executive Director, CDD, David Anyaele, where the Centre disclosed that many Nigerians were injured and made physically challenged during the #EndSARS protests as a result of excessive use of force by the security operatives.
The Centre, also in its demands, charged the panel to consider effective methods of communication which should be accessible to persons with disabilities, and where a person with hearing impairment appear before the panel, a sign language interpreter should be on stand-by for ease of communication.
They also said that a person with a disability, who wishes to testify before the panel should not be discriminated against on the basis of disability.
The statement read in part: “The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) commends the efforts of various states government for setting up panels of inquiry to look deep into series of atrocities committed by Special anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) before its disbandment by the Inspector General of Police and President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Recognising that the operations of SARS, which have caused untold hardship on so many families who lost their loved ones who are either the breadwinners of the family or is being looked up to after spending so much to give him/her education.
“We are concerned that the population of persons with disabilities has consistently increased as a result of modus operandi of SARS.
“Unfortunately, many people suffered disability during the protests as a result of excessive use of force by the security operatives. This is most condemnable.
“As laudable as the effort of the states and the federal government to inquire on the operations of SARS and its effect on the citizenry, CCD is worried that none of these committees set up has the representatives of persons with disabilities either at the state or federal level, the community of people mostly increased and affected.
“It is on this note, CCD is calling on the states panels of inquiry on SARS to consider the following: take measure to include person(s) with disabilities as member(s) of the panel in the various states;
“Ensure the venues for sittings are accessible to persons with disabilities in line with Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, should they decide to appear before the panel.”
The statement also called on members of the various panels to be above board and ensure persons that suffered disabilities as a result of SARS operations or as a result of the protests are adequately compensated.