The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Wednesday awarded N289million in compensation to 74 beneficiaries of police brutality. The panel is investigating violations of human rights by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units.
The panel was set up by the Federal Government in November 2020 following the “ENDSARS Protest” which was triggered by nationwide allegations of Police brutality. The first batch of N146 million compensation was awarded on Dec. 23, 2021, to 26 persons
Speaking, the chair of, the NHRC governing board, Dr. Salamatu Suleiman, congratulated the petitioners for their faith in the human rights mechanism in Nigeria.
”As an Independent National Human Rights Institution, the commission will continue to exercise its mandate to promote and protect the rights of every Nigerian. While we look forward to receiving the final report of Justice Galadima’s panel, the commission will work towards putting in place a permanent mechanism.
”We all upon Nigerians to continue to uphold their rights and make good use of the offices of the commission in the 36 states and the FCT to report violations of their rights,” She said. Similarly, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Anthony Ojukwu, SAN, described the occasion as very significant in many respects.
” The mandate of the commission is to make sure the rights of all of us are protected. We want to elevate the protection of human rights, those whose rights are violated are compensated and the violators are recommended for punishment.
” Today, in fulfillment of the government to ensure that where there are violations, there is a remedy – we are sorry,” he said. He said the amount today cannot solve all the problems but it is symbolic.
Ojukwu urged all not to take laws into their hands because this gesture by the government is an indication that we are moving forward.
Also, speaking the chairman of the panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima,( rtd) thanked everyone that made it lighter throughout the two-year period of their assignment.
Similarly, Mr. Hilary Ogbonna gave the breakdown of the beneficiaries, 25 are for extrajudicial killing, four enforced disappearances, 24, for torture, 16 for prolonged detention and four for confiscations of properties. He said 58 beneficiaries’ demo cheques are ready while the rest had some issues that needed to be strengthened.
” The panel handed a total of 297 petitions across Nigeria.
”We have made decisions in all but two, a lot of the incidence happened without records and the panel has been diligent, he said. One of the recipients, Gaiya Suleiman expressed his joy and described it as a good development and hope for the common man.