#EndSARS: NHRC panel begins sitting, receives 150 petitions

The Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations set up by the federal government to investigate alleged human right violations by members of the defunct SARS has begun sitting.

The panel has so far received 150 petitions from the six geopolitical zones of the country, Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission Tony Ojukwu said at the inaugural sitting of the panel.

Mr. Ojukwu urged the members of the panel to focus on justice to both the complainants and the alleged violators.

“The panel must focus on substantial justice to both the complainants and the alleged violators because Human Rights Commission Panel must not be involved in miscarriage of justice,” he admonished. “The panel is set up pursuant to the inherent mandate of the NHRC to investigate human rights violation in accordance with Section 6(1)(a,d,e,f and g) of the National Human Rights Commission Act 1995 as amended by the NHRC Amendment Act, 2010.

The NHRC boss said the survival of the Nigeria Police Force will depend on its perceived usefulness to the people of Nigeria.

“A state of police brutality and impunity cannot help this positive perception,” Mr. Ojukwu said.

Chairman of the panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima, in his remarks said: “human rights are God-given and any violations of such by anyone is absolutely condemnable.

“I assure you that the panel will be fair and just to everyone who appears before it,” he said.

Other members of the panel are Abdulrahaman Yakubu representing NHRC, representatives of Civil society, Lydia Umar, Uju Agomoh, representatives of Nigerian Youths, Mubarak Mijinyawa, speaker Nigerian Youth Parliament, Tijani Mohammed, representative of Police Service Commission.

Also on the panel are representative of Nigerian Police Force, Ibrahim Larmode, representatives of NBA, John Aikpokpo-Martin and Garba Tetegi, while the secretary to the panel is Hillary Ogbonna.

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