Despite opposition against the disbandment of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) by northern governors, some panels set up in the northern states have continued to receive petitions from individuals on police harassment.
Protesters had taken to streets across major cities in the country for over two weeks in October, demanding an end to police brutality and bad governance.
The federal government had directed all state governors to set up judicial panels of inquiry to receive and investigate complaints on police brutality or related extrajudicial killings — with a six months’ time frame.
But 19 northern governors led by the Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Hon. Simon Lalong, had kicked against the disbandment of the police unit, saying it has been useful in the fight against insecurity in the region.
However, The Cable reported that over 120 petitions have been submitted to various panels set up in some of the northern states.
In Katsina, the Chairman of the judicial panel, Abbas Bawale, yesterday told journalists that 61 petitions have been received from various individuals ahead of the public hearing which would commence on November 23, 2020.
Also, Registrar of the Plateau State panel, Mark Mallan, disclosed that as of November 13, petitions received by the panel had reached 30.
The Taraba State panel has received 11 petitions, 16 have been submitted in Nasarawa, while Kwara has 10.
Kaduna State Judicial Panel Secretary, Hajaratu Mohammed, also confirmed to TheCable that the state has received several petitions from indigenes.
Mohammed said although three petitions were submitted directly to her office, the total number of petitions received cannot be ascertained as the panel is yet to have its inaugural sitting. She confirmed that some petitions have been received by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the state and some other offices at the local government level.
Already, 29 states and the federal capital territory have set up the judicial panels of inquiry as directed by the federal government. But some of the panels are yet to commence sitting, while some are yet to receive any petition. The states yet to set up their judicial panels of enquiry are Borno, Kebbi, Kano, Sokoto, Yobe, Jigawa and Zamfara.