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Buhari Receives Report on SARS Reform, Urges Police to Be Civil in Operations




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By Ganiyu Nasirudeen

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the Nigeria Policemen to always operate within the ambit of the law as well as avoid violating the fundamental human rights of citizens whom they have sworn to protect.

Buhari gave the task Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while receiving the report of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).

The President noted 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’’.

Mr. President stated that it was in recognition these obligations under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and International Human Rights Laws, that his Administration decided to set up 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 recalled that the 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)’’ the President stated.

Buhari said he was very happy with the work of the Panel and thank the Panel members for working hard towards the realization of the Presidential Directive.

He stated that he hoped 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 promised to give the NHRC all the support required to ensure full implementation of the recommendations contained in its Report.

While thanking the Panel he noted since the recommendations of the Commission that constituted the Panel are enforceable as decisions of the Court, President Buhari directed the Inspector General of Police and the Solicitor General of the Federation/Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice to meet with the Commission to work out the modalities for the implementation of the Report within 3 months from today.

The presentation event was witnessed by the Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo; IGP Muhammad Abubakar among other top government functionaries.

 


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