•Protests persist in Lagos, Abuja as govt beefs up security at land borders
•Oyetola attacked, two protesters feared killed by governor’s details
•Aisha Buhari: It’s time to address insecurity in the North
•Army to begin operation crocodile smile nationwide Monday
•Lagos, Enugu, Kaduna, Ogun set up judicial panel on Police brutality
With increasing supports by international stars for the #ENDSARS protesters in many parts of the country, the federal government, yesterday, reiterated that a police reform was inevitable and promised to redesign the operational guidelines and monitoring mechanisms that would help avert human rights violation by men of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
One of America’s foremost actors, Tyler Perry, swelled the ranks of the international stars, who had so far enlisted supports for the ongoing protests, when he tweeted yesterday, writing, “I hate that a country with enormous potential to be one of the greatest in the world, is going through so much horror…I stand with Nigeria.”
This is as the protests have persisted in both Lagos and Abuja, her two major epicentres, forcing the federal government to equally beef up security in its land borders across the nation.
Buhari Has Failed Nigerians on Security, Says Katsina Youths
From the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari in Katsina, the youths, under the auspices of Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), have bemoaned the prevailing spate of killings and kidnappings orchestrated by bandits, saying the president has failed Nigerians and the state on security.
And as though reading the minds of the Katsina youths, the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, has enjoined her husband, President Buhari to seize the momentum and address the growing insecurity, particularly, in the northern part of the country.
In another breath, the Nigerian Army has announced plans to commence its annual nationwide military exercise tagged Crocodile Smile, which imposes ‘operation positive identification’ – a move many feared could precipitate a clash with the protesters.
As at yesterday, four states had announced judicial panel of inquiry to investigate police brutality and killings. Lagos, Ogun, Enugu and Kaduna,while other states are expected to follow suit.
Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Saturday, confirmed futile attempts by unknown group to hack into its official website amid allegations that several other government agencies and parastatals, had been hacked, fuelling insinuations that the nation probably runs a rather weak tech security.
In other news, Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola narrowly escaped being lynched yesterday by armed thugs, who allegedly invaded a protest rally, where the governor had gone to address some of the angry youths, protesting against police brutality.
The development reportedly left two people feared dead, allegedly shot by the Gov Oyetola’s security details, while many of the vehicles on the convoy of the governor were badly damaged.
This but came at a time his Bauchi State counterpart, Senator Bala Abdulkadri Mohammed, urged the media to use their influence to unite Nigerians in the face of the series of protests against Police brutality in the country, saying although the police have their limitations, the country still needs them to maintain peace and order.
Minister of Police Affairs, Mr. Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi, speaking at the weekend during stakeholders engagement meeting on internal security and conflict resolutions in Katsina, Katsina State, fondled with remedies to the lingering threats of banditry in the state, noting that a police reform would enhance better service delivery devoid of unprofessional behaviour and violation of human rights.
He explained that the federal government was working with critical stakeholders in the country to reformulate policies and programmes for effective policing and maintenance of law and order for harmonious coexistence amongst her citizenry.
The minister reiterated that the recent disbandment of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) was to avert conducts that were not in line with the principles of democratic governance and also top deepen relationship between the police and the civil populace.
He said: “This stakeholders engagement is coming at a time when police in this country are being faced with challenges of unprofessional conducts that are not in tune with the principles of democratic governance.
“We will work with stakeholders, especially civil society groups in redesigning our operational guidelines and monitoring mechanism of police to avoid the reoccurring of highly unbecoming conducts of the SARS personnel that led to the disbandment of the unit”.
He, however, “urged all Nigerians to see the recent disbandment of SARS as government’s commitment to deepening relationship between the police and citizens for better service delivery devoid of unprofessional behaviour and violation of human rights.
“Therefore, I want to assure Nigerians of our commitment to reform our policing framework to meet global best practices and arrangements are on to deal with erring policemen involved in violation of human rights”.
In his opening remarks, the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, said the state government would continue to accord security the needed priority to end the perennial challenges afflicting the state.
Masari added that his administration had embarked on revolving security strategies, which he said had greatly stemmed the rate of banditry and kidnapping in the state.
Meanwhile, the number of international stars from different walks of life, who had enlisted support for the ongoing protests across the country, has continued to increase by the minute.
Superstars who are with the Nigerian youths in their drive include Wyclef Jean, Celine Dion, Kanye West, Trey Songz, Drake, Marcus Rashford, Mesut Ozil, Rio Ferdinand, etc., all taking to Twitter to express solidarity with Nigerian protesters, who have been on the streets for days.
Besides, Nigerians in the Diaspora have also joined the protest, from Paris to London, Berlin and New York.
US rapper, Kanye West tweeted, “I stand with my Nigerian brothers and sisters to end police brutality. The government must answer to the peoples cries #EndPoliceBrutalityinNigeria.”
Celine Dion, in a similar vein, stated, “My heart is melting after reading what is going on in Nigeria…#EndSARS #EndPoliceBrutality.”
Commenting too is a popular American gospel singer, Kirk Franklin, who stated thus: “For over 20 years, Nigeria stood with me, now I stand with you. #endsarsnow.”
Last Sunday, Drake shared an #EndSARS post from Grace Ladoja, a Nigerian-British talent manager and socialist. “Pls check this post from my family for the info @graceladoja,” Drake captioned the post along with a Nigerian flag emoji.
RnB Singer, Trey Songz also tweeted his support for #EndSARs, blasting the Nigerian government for not acting faster in response to allegations of police brutality and violence.
Former British professional footballer, Rio Ferdinand and ‘Star Wars’ British-Nigerian actor, John Boyega, condemned police brutality in the country.
“Horrible to hear what’s been going on in Nigeria. Let’s make this a trending topic everywhere #EndSARS. My thoughts go out to everyone, who has been affected. #EndPoliceBrutality,” Ozil tweeted.
Rashford, on his part, wrote: “My thoughts and prayers with all of those affected #EndSARS.”
Tammy Abraham, Antonio Rudiger, and Nigeria’s Wizkid also expressed their concerns.
Nigerian footballer and Leicester star, Wilfred Ndidi, said, “#EndSARS for the safety of Nigerians… We are scared to visit home, because the people who are meant to protect us are killing us. Looking good with dreads is not a crime.”
Against this backdrop, the protests against police brutality, corruption and indiscriminate arrest of citizens, have persisted in both Lagos and Abuja, even when they came under attacks by machete-wielding thugs at Julius Berger Roundabout in Wuse on Thursday.
Civil rights activists and youths have defiantly ignored the ban on public protests by the FCT Administration by marching in the city in the past three days to demand for police reforms.
In Abuja, on Friday, they blocked the International Airport road and paralysed the movement of vehicles along the busy road. The situation made many commuters to be stranded for several hours.
Many people trekked for hours with the attendant security risk and only got home in the mid night, while some motorists, who were trapped in the traffic, slept on the road as a result of the cordon set up at the Abuja City Gate. The disruption in the flow of traffic to the airport also caused many prospective passengers to miss their flight.
But the protesters have continued from where they last stopped, when they barricaded the Kubwa-Zuba Expressway and the strategic Abuja- Keffi Road.
Traffic was grounded along the 10-lane Kubwa-Zuba expressway by the youths, who blocked the Kubwa section of the road around the NNPC filing station.
Another cordon was also mounted at Gwarimpa leading to a serious traffic bottleneck. Many inbound vehicles from nearby communities and states in the North West were stranded. The protesters carried placards and sang protest songs.
The protesters also set up barricade along the strategic Abuja- Keffi Road, which connects the FCT with the north central, North Eastern and Southeastern states.
There was a mid morning protest by hundreds of youths at Mararaba, New Nyanya, New Karu and Ado communities in the Nasarawa part of the road.
There were also pockets of protests in Masaka in the evening, leading to a disruption of vehicular flow on both sides of the road.
In Lagos, the protests also continued with no signs of letting up, as protesters ramped up both online and offline efforts to press their demands for police reforms.
The protests continued simultaneously at the Lekki Tollgate, Alimosho Local Government, Ago Palace Way, Alausa, Amuwo Odofin, Egbeda, Ikotun, Ipaja and environs.
The protest held in Ikorodu built up with time and grounded the entire suburb, hampering vehicular movement.
Inevitably, this shot up the cost of transportation in the areas as a trip from Oshodi to Ikorodu that ordinarily costs N150 was upped to N1,000.
To ensure a coordinated protest nationwide, devoid of hitches, the protesters however created a helpline on 01 700 1755.
According to FK Abudu, one of the organisers, the call sign one is for medical, two for legal, three for food and supplies, four, five and six for mental health emergencies and seven for security.
Curiously, the Nigeria Youth Organisations (NYO) has appealed to youths to stop the #EndSARS protest as it might have been hijacked by self-centred elements bent on compromising the peace of the country.
The group also urged support for efforts to reform the Nigeria Police to bring about modern policing with human face as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari.
National President of the Organisation, Alhaji Abubakar Wali, made the call at a news conference in Abuja, saying all well meaning Nigerians must not play into the hands of those bent on distabilising the country like Syria and Libya, by creating unrests inspired by civil protests.
“We join all well-meaning Nigerians to condemn bad eggs in the police, who perpetrate brutality against innocent citizens, and welcome necessary reforms that shall bring about modern policing with human face. We commend the Nigerian youth and lovers of social justice for coming up with a patriotic stands to right the wrongs in our society.
“However, we must as a point of necessity crave towards mutual trust of peace, unity, love, stewardship and accountability to the government and people,” Wali said, even as he tasked the National Assembly to ensure the passage of the Youth Rights Bill, which he said would ensure that the rights and privileges of the youths are protected.
Leader of Ohaneaze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, Mr. MaziOkwu Nnabuike, also enjoined the youths to support the federal government to implement laudable reforms in the police.
However, given the fact that the protests have persisted, the Department of State Security (DSS) has raised the alarm over alleged plans by smugglers to mobilise people in Ogun State to protest against the continued closure of the nation’s borders with Benin Republic.
The DSS, therefore, advised all security operatives in Ogun State to be on the alert.
In a memo to the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, the DSS said protest of sundry issues would spring up in the state, building on the success of the ENDSARS protest across the nation, insisting there were plans to protest against even bad roads in the state.
The memo to the police commissioner, which is dated 15th October 2020 read: “Following the #ENDSARS protest across the nation, there are indications that protest on sundry issues will spring up in the state with effect from 16th October, 2020 as foot soldiers and their sponsors, both local and foreign have commenced mobilisation of the people, especially, the youths who are still buoyed by the perceived success of the #ENDSARS protests.
“Already, youths in border communities, particularly those in Idiroko in Ipokia LGA, Owode-Yewa and Oja Odan in Ayewa South LGA, Ilara in Imeko-Afon LGA and Ijoun in Yewa South LGA are being mobilised by smugglers and their foreign collaborators to stage protests simultaneously anytime soon against the continued closure of the nation’s land borders and activities of security agencies, particularly the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at the border points.
“Likewise, there is mobilisation of residents of the state by agents of the opposition to protest against bad condition of roads across the state. The protest against bad roads will likely hold in Abeokuta, Ifo, Ota, Sagamu and major towns in Ijebu axis as the foot soldiers have made inroads into these towns with an appreciable number of youths sympathetic to their cause.
“In view of the palpable threat and its negative impact on national security, it is imperative that patrol of key and vulnerable points and flash-points/black spots cross the state be intensified amongst other security measures, while security operatives at border points be extra cautious and vigilant against possible attacks by aggrieved youths from the border areas.”
From Katsina State, the youths, who passed a verdict of failure on the president, said the wave of banditry, rape and kidnapping ravaging Batsari and Faskari Local Government Areas of the state, has unforeseen economic, social and political implications that if not tackle would engulf the entire state.
In a communiqué issued on Saturday by the North-west Vice Chairman of CNG, Mr. Jamilu Aliyu, shortly after a roundtable discussion on how to end banditry, kidnapping and rape in the state, held at the Katsina State Motel, stated that government’s attempts to reassert public confidence with repeated rhetoric of being on top of the situation, seem to be worsening the uproar as killings and kidnapping for ransom have become a daily occurrence in most parts of the state.
“The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed the nation and in particular, Katsina State in the vital area of improving citizens lives and securing property. Many of our parents and children are still in captivity and many of them are widows and orphans.
“The rise in the spate of banditry and kidnapping in places such as Faskari and Batsari, lately, has become a major trying point for everyone but the authorities have remained detached from the reality,” he said.
He, however, called on Governor Masari to investigate the alleged misappropriation of security funds meant to stem banditry in the state by some of his kitchen cabinets, while expressing dissatisfaction that the alleged embezzlement of security funds by government officials was coming at time residents of the state were under siege by marauding bandits and kidnappers.
Also, in a push consisted with her disposition, the first lady, Aisha Buhari, has created a new hashtag on Twitter #Achechijamaa (save the people) and shared it with a song, highlighting the insecurity and killings in Northern Nigeria.
In the music video tweeted in her verified handle, the first lady begged President Buhari to address insecurity in the Northern Nigeria.
The music video, which is rendered in Hausa language, showed images of Security Service Chiefs in meetings with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
The translation goes thus: “Please, in the name of God, pay attention and intervene on our plight. The North is crying! Our blood is being shed! Our people are being killed! Our properties and wealth are being destroyed; Baba, please intervene; Baba Please protect us!”
But, apparently not comfortable with the state of the nation with respects to the ongoing protests, the Nigerian Army has concluded plans to commence its nationwide annual military exercise tagged Crocodile Smile, an idea that forces operation positive identification of the citizens.
A press release by the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, stated that the exercise, which is traditionally conducted in the last quarter of the year, would hold this year between 20th of October to the 31st of December.
He said this year’s exercise, Crocodile Smile VI, is deliberately intended to be all encompassing to include cyber warfare exercises designed to identify, track and counter negative propaganda in the social media and across the cyberspace.
“This is the first ever Cyberwarfare exercise to be conducted in the history of the African Armed Forces. Accordingly, the exercise will also include positive identification component aimed at identifying Boko Haram terrorists fleeing from the North East and other parts of the country as a result of the ongoing operations in the various theatres of operations especially in the Northeast, North Central and North Western parts of Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Army, once again, reassures all well meaning Nigerians of its commitment to the sustenance of peace and security in Nigeria and urges members of the public for their support and understanding throughout the period of the exercise.”
But, there are strong indications that the move might clash with the ongoing #EndSARS protests calling for the reformation of the Nigeria Police, security and good governance.
The Army had during the launch of Operation Positive Identification in October 2019, said it was designed to track fleeing terrorists in the North-east, who had moved to other parts of the country and thereby informed members of the public to always go about with a valid means of identification.
Troops were directed to strictly check “legitimate means of identification such as national identification card, voters registration card, drivers’ licence and international passport or other valid official identification before allowing such persons passage.”
It later announced that it was extending operation positive identification across the nation to checkmate bandits, kidnappers and armed robbers among others.
But the Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins, has called on President Buhari not to call out the military to stop the ongoing protest by youths.
In a statement he issued yesterday, Martins said the federal government should engage the youths in dialogue and not use force to chase them away.
“A BBC News report on 15th October insinuated that the Nigerian Army may be deployed to quell the protests by force. This is very disturbing and we hope it does not happen.
“Such a measure, if adopted, can only lead to injuries and possible deaths, and an escalation of the protests. It has the tendency of turning the largely peaceful protests into a violent one,” he said.
He therefore appealed to the federal government to toe the line of engagement in dialogue, listening to the demands of the youths and other well-meaning Nigerians. He also commended the government for acceding to the demands of the youth.
Interestingly, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Saturday confirmed futile attempts by unknown group to hack into its official website, saying its official website was still intact.
INEC’s Director of Public Affairs and Voter Education, Nick Dazang, told THISDAY that though some unknown groups attempted several times to hack into the official website of the commission, however, failed each time they tried.
“Yes, I can confirm that today, as early as 3 am, attempts were made to hack into the INEC website, but this was repelled by the staff of the Information Communication Technology (ICT). The good thing is that the official website of the commission is still intact and the INEC ICT has been kept on 24 hours watch out against these groups,” he explained.
Asked if he knew the motive of the hackers, the INEC Director said though he has no answer to that, however, “whatever their intentions might be, they have failed, because our ICT unit is equal to the task and will always repel the action.”
He refused to attribute the attempt to hack into the INEC website to any group, but since Thursday, some official websites of government agencies have been hacked into by Anonymous, a hacking syndicate that claims solidarity with protesters demanding an end to Police brutality, even as some groups associated with the protests have also claimed responsibility for the multiple hackings.
But the situation is believed to have exposed the nation’s weak technology security since the coordinated attacks came 72hours after it demanded of the Nigerian government to end police brutality.
Codenamed Operation Nigeria, the hackers drawn from LiteMods, Skeletor, Shadow_xor, Lorian Synaro and Anonymous Central, among several others, attacked different platforms, hacking some and taking others offline.
Also reportedly attacked were websites of the State House, Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian Army, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigerian Customs Service, and the INEC, which has since been denied.
In the area of security, they also hacked the website of the Nigerian Police, which showed the abysmal attention paid by the force to technology.
In the data generated on Mega.nz, it showed the police only recorded 23 biometric capture in a nation of 200million persons, while its statistics for stolen vehicles was pegged at 201, which is contrary to figures of 1,344 coordinated by legitcar.ng, a website that helps people verify any car sale before it happens.
Facing the state and local governments, they hacked the Lagos, Edo and Kaduna States websites, as well as that of the Amuwo Odofin Local Government in Lagos, not leaving out the website of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Late evening casualties were the Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology (NISLT), the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), Nigerian Industrial Training Fund,
Undeterred in their coordinated attacks, they said: “We warn that the attacks on Nigerian government servants will continue if they continue to harm the people.
“The Nigerian #government must pay for what they did and we will expose all their crimes against the country. We Are Anonymous. #EndSARS.”
However, with a rather disturbing spectacle, the Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola, was yesterday attacked by armed thugs, who invaded one of the protest rallies, where he had gone to address the youths, leaving two people dead and many of the vehicles on his convoy damaged.
A tweet from the state government @Stateofosun, confirming the development, reads: “There was an attempt Saturday on the life of the Governor Oyetola. Armed with guns, cutlasses, the hoodlums swooped on the governor at Olaiya junction, while he was addressing the #EndSARS protesters at the state capital”.
Similarly, the Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, while urging the media to use their influence to unite Nigerians in the face of the series of protest against Police brutality in the nation, contended that the country was divided as a result of the various protest across the country, and as such, journalists should not heat up the polity by writing sensational reports.
Speaking at his country home in Yelwan Duguri at Alkeleri local government area of Bauchi, shortly after casting his vote for the local government election, he noted that, “Nigeria is so much divided now in the face of the ongoing protest against the SARS unit of the police. You as journalists should not aggravate the situation, but should unite Nigerians by disseminating the right information, such that will not heat up the polity.
“This local government election in the state was conducted to give the people of Bauchi the privilege of exercising their own universal suffrage by electing their own leaders. This, we have successfully done today and the people of the state, especially the grassroots are happy that we have kept our campaign promise of conducting a free and fair local government election” he said.
Young APC Stakeholders Divided over #EndSARS Protest
Young Stakeholders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Saturday, openly disagreed among themselves over the ongoing protest, which has culminated in the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The press conference that was supposed to start by 11:30 am could not start until 1:05pm, when they were able to reach some compromise.
The members of the group had open disagreement in the presence of the press before the press briefing kicked off.
While some members agreed to call on the protesters to stop protesting and give the government the benefit of the doubt to reform the police, others insisted that asking them to put an end to the protest was a wrong call.
However, the young stakeholders, who later addressed journalists at the party secretariat in Abuja on Saturday, said the protest was now doing more arm to the people.
Speaking on behalf of the group, its spokesperson, Mr. Aliyu Sheu, said the Young APC Stakeholders had watched events of the past days as it concerns the agitations to put an end to police brutality and particularly the menace of operatives of SARS.
The group noted that it acknowledged the genuineness behind these agitations just as it appreciated the unity and resilience that had been shown by Nigerian youths in the past few days, adding that it was a testament to the true spirit of the desire to enthrone a nation that works for all.
According to the group, the fact that the protests have been sustained despite government agreeing to the demands was as a result of the long years of mistrust between the government and the people.
It, however, added that the present administration was committed and already showing the desire to bridge that gap and right the wrongs of many years, predating this government.
But another member of the group, Mr. Dagogo Fubara, said while he was in agreement with all that was said about the protest, he insisted that the call on the protesters to halt the protest was a wrong call, adding that the protest was not political, but a call on the authority for the right thing to be done.
Fubara, therefore, called on the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, to emulate the Governor of Kwara, Lagos, and Rivers States and address the protesters.
Northern Groups Stage Protest in Makurdi over Insecurity
The Benue State chapter of the Coalition of Northern groups (CNG), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest amid tight security in the state capital, Makurdi.
The protests led by both the national and state executives, was held at the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ) house, witnessed the presence of civil societies Organisation (CSOs), some social cultural organisations and students bodies from across the state.
Highlight of the protest saw an address by the national executive from Benue state Comrade Ben Idoko, who drew the attention of the government at all levels to do more to halt the multifaceted security challenges confronting Benue State, northern Nigeria and the country at large.
He implored the federal government to do more in terms of equipping the security agencies and improving their welfare to boost their morale and enhance proactive capacity.
Niger Youths Protest Bad Roads, Poor Electricity Supply, Banditry
Scores of Youths, on Saturday morning, protested the poor supply of electricity by the Abuja Electricity Development Company AEDC, and bad federal roads across the state.
The Youths also asked for the reform of the Nigeria Police and putting an end to the lawlessness of men of the now dissolved Special anti-robbery squad as well as asking governments to take tangible actions to stop banditry and kidnapping across the state.
They matched through the major roads of Minna, the state capital carrying placards with different captions and singing and dancing.
Most of the banners read: “#Save Niger State” with riders such as “End banditry”, “End bad roads” “End AEDC”, “End Insecurity Now” “End rape” and “End Boko Haram”.
The protest was organised by “Coalition of Northern Youth Groups” Niger State chapter, and at a stage was joined by some artists.
Ogun, Enugu Set Up Judicial Panels over Police Brutality
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun and his Enugu State counterpart, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had set up Judicial Panels of Investigation on alleged cases of Police brutalities against citizens of the State.
The move was in line with the resolution of the National Economic Council at its meeting last Thursday.
The virtual meeting presided over by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, with governors participating, had directed each governor, in consultation with relevant federal agencies, to take charge of interaction with #EndSARS protesters, and as much as possible address their legitimate concerns.
The National Economic Council (NEC) also directed each state to set up victims support fund to “enable payment of monetary compensations to deserving victims” of such alleged brutalities.
The governors are also expected to set up special security and human rights committees as well as human rights complaint offices in their respective State.
It was in view of these directives that Governor Abiodun, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, announced the setting up of the respective committees and their mandates, with the appointment of Justice Solomon Olugbemi (retired) as Chairman.
In Enugu, Ugwuanyi too, on Saturday, announced the setting up of a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra judicial killings, albeit as further demanded by the protesters.
Ugwuanyi, who addressed the #EndSars protesters amid cheers, reiterated his endorsement to the state government’s position on the demands made by the protesting youths, disclosed that the panel would be chaired by a High Court Judge with two representatives of the Civil Society Groups and one retired Police Officer of high repute as members.
Other members of the panel, according to Ugwuanyi included one youth representative, one student representative, a representative of the State Attorney General and another from the Human Rights Commission.
He said the panel was saddled with the responsibility of receiving and investigating complaints of police brutality or related extra judicial killings; evaluate evidence presented/other surrounding circumstances and draw conclusion as to the validity of the complaints and then recommend compensation and other remedial measures where appropriate.
NHRC Sets Up Panel to Probe SARS
The National Human Rights Commission has constituted an 11-man panel to probe allegations of violation of human rights by the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
The police unit was scrapped by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu following ongoing protests across the country over allegations of excesses against men of the force.
Executive Secretary of NHRC, Tony Ojukwu, in a statement on Saturday said, all petitions, complaints and memoranda must reach the Commission, which is the Secretariat of the Panel on or before 31 October 2020.
“In line with the National Human Rights Commission’s mandate and in response to the nationwide agitations by some Nigerian youth groups under the auspices of End SARS, the NHRC has constituted an 11-man Independent Investigative Panel (IIP) to look into allegations of human rights violations against the defunct SARS and other units of the force.”
He said the Committee headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Suleiman Galadima, would hear petitions, complaints and memoranda from Nigerians across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, and thereafter make recommendations to the federal government on how best to reform SARS and other units of the Police force.
He noted that the terms of reference of the Panel included to investigate all complaints of rights violations against SARS and other units of the Police force; make appropriate recommendations as per the damages and compensations to be paid to the victims of Police brutality.
He also said the Panel was given the powers to refer any matter, in the course of their assignment to the Attorney General of the Federation, or that of a state for prosecution in accordance with the law.
The panel is empowered as well to make recommendations to government on measures to be taken in respect of operatives of defunct SARS or officers of the Nigerian Police Force, if any, found in violation of human rights of citizens and propose remedial steps that may enhance the professional conduct of defunct SARS operatives, any succeeding unit and other members of the Nigerian Police Force and any other recommendations that may be considered appropriate.
Other members of the Panel are Abdulrahaman Yakubu, Yemi Ademolakun, Chioma Chuka, Prof. Ayo Atsenuwa, Tijani Mohammed, Dr. Uju Agomoh, DIG Ibrahim Lamorde, Dr. Garba Tetengi, SAN, Feyikemi Abudu, John Aikpokpo Martins, while Hilary Ogbonna, will serve as it’s secretary.
Ex-NIMASA Boss, Others Participate in Arise Walk-for-Life as #EndSARS Protesters Stage Prayer Walk
Immediate past Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, yesterday, joined other notable politicians in the 2020 edition of the Arise Walk-For-Life in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
This is coming about the same time that the #EndSARS protesters in the state joined others across the country to march through the major roads in Port Harcourt on the nationwide prayer walk.
Other prominent indigenes of Rivers State, who participated in the seven-kilometre walk round major roads in Port Harcourt metropolis included two former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Victoria Nyeche and Hon. Josiah Olu.
Others were the immediate-past sole administrator of the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Mrs. Aleruchi Cookey-Gam and former commissioner for Land and Survey, Hon. Ezemonye Ezekiel Amadi.
Addressing journalists after the exercise, Peterside said the programme, which was started 10 years ago in Lagos, decided to go international in 2020 due to the spread of Covid-19.
“Arise Walk-For-Life is a programme initiated 10 years ago by Pastor Siju Iloyimode, the co-pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, City of David, Lagos. But this year, the programme decided to go international, because of Covid-19. So, it is taking place in all the major cities in Nigeria and major cities in Europe.
Hon. Victoria Nyeche said apart from winning souls for Christ, the walk was also to create awareness that people need to be healthy
Meanwhile, the #ENDSARS protest continued in Port Harcourt yesterday with the protesters demanding an end to police brutality and compensation for victims.
The youths had on Friday night held a candle light procession in honour of dead victims of SARS/police brutality.
Addressing journalists during the Saturday march, a Port Harcourt-based comedian, K.O Baba, said the procession was in honour of Chima Ikwunado, a mechanic, who was allegedly tortured to death in the detention of the Eagle Crack unit of the Police at the Mile 1 Police Station, Diobu in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He said it was also to honour Daniel Ikeaguchi, a musician that was shot dead recently at Elelenwo in Port Harcourt metropolis by a policeman attached to a supermarket while he was being chased by operatives of the anti-cultism unit of the police.
Saturday’s protest was however unique as the protesters chanted prayers as they walked and sang to God.
Over one hundred youths gathered at the popular Garrison Junction, Aba Road at about 8am and marched through UTC junction on Azikiwe Road en route Government House.