By Bashir Bello – Kano
Over 190 Civil Society and Community Based Organizations in Kano State have at the weekend called on Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje to set up a Judicial panel of inquiry into the alleged Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS or Police brutality in the state.
The group made the call in a letter addressed to the Governor and signed by its President, Ibrahim A. Waiya, and Secretary, Mr. Peter Hassan Tijani respectively.
They said the constitution of the panel will help unravel the circumstances surrounding the alleged SARS/police brutality and abuse of power in the state.
Part of the letter reads, “recall that, there was a nationwide protest by Nigerian citizens concerning the operations of the disbanded SARS, a tactical team of the Nigerian police, bordering on allegations of brutality, extrajudicial killings, harassment and intimidation as well as a violation of citizens rights. These and related issues constituted largely the reasons behind the ENDSARS peaceful demonstrations across many states of the federation, unfortunately, and eventually turned bloody. Consequently, the ugly development influenced the decision of many states Government to set up the Judicial Panel of Inquiry (JPI), as an immediate measure to calm the situation.
“Although, Kano State did not experience so much from the ENDSARS protests, we however feel that there is an imperative need to establish such panel in Kano, for the simple reason that, Kano State is strategic and critical, which most at times serves as a pacesetter in all national issues of public concern.
“We therefore urge the Governor of Kano State, to constitute an all-inclusive judicial panel of inquiry, as a response mechanism with specific responsibility to unravel the circumstances surrounding the alleged SARS/police brutality and abuse of power. This we believe will provide an avenue for the Nigerian citizens in Kano State to be heard.
“We requested that, the panel should equally be accorded with the mandate to assess the damages done to public and private properties and businesses so that a proper guide through the recommendation of the Panel could be secured to help in informing the decision of Government intervention and support to those who suffered any loss in relation to the circumstances.
“While we appreciate the efforts of the Kano State Government, the security agencies, the community leaders, the civil society organizations for the effective and compassionate handling of the situation, we urge you to as a matter of public interest to set up the panel so that our dear State will join the wagon of other States in the process of addressing the alleged violations of human rights by the disbanded SARS and to equally restore such rights and sanction the violators if found.”
It added that, “we strongly believe in the process of upholding the rights of citizens, a practice which not only help in upholding the rule of law, but as well critically supports in strengthening public confidence and trust in democratic governance.
“Some of the States that set up their panels, include: Lagos, Kaduna, Ogun, Delta, Bauchi and many more, and have already swung into actions,” the letter however reads.