Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed of Bauchi State has inaugurated a 17-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate human right abuses in the State by the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.
The Governor while inaugurating the panel on Wednesday, October 28, at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Bauchi said the constitution of the panel was in compliance with the federal government’s directive on Governors to compliment its efforts in investigating human right abuses by the disbanded SARS.
He said their terms of reference is to recommend measures to be taken by the Government to forestall future re-occurrence of violent protests, recommend appropriate compensation to be paid to the victims and to submit progress report to the Government on monthly basis
Others terms of reference of the judicial panel, according to the Governor, is to recieve written or oral evidence of SARS brutality by victims within Bauchi State, determine those responsible for the abuse of victims and recommend them for prosecution and to summon witnesses where necessary.
“It could be recalled that on 5th of October, 2020, many Nigerians took to the streets protesting against high-handedness by the Special Anti Robbery Squad. The protest was initially a peaceful one calling for disbanding of the squad and initiating a reform in the Police operation in the country,” he said.
Governor Bala Mohammed regretted that, inspite of the positive response of President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue especially announcing the disbanding of the squad, the protest was now hijacked by the hoodlums thus it escalated and metamorphosed into violence.
“Subsequently, unsuspecting members of the public were attacked, shops were looted and public property vandalised. It is against this backdrop that Mr President constituted a Commission of Inquiry to investigate all cases of human right abuses by the Police and to advise the Government on how to introduce reforms into the Police Force.
The Governor tasked members of the panel to discharge the assignment with all sense of dedication, commitment, justice, fairness and patriotism in order to facilitate ushering in the needed reforms into Police force as aspired by the Nigerians.
Governor Bala Mohammed who said the panel is to submit its report within six months pledged to give them necessary support and cooperation for the successful execution of the assignment.
Responding, the Chairman of the Judicial Panel, Retired Justice Habibu Idris Shall expressed gratitude to the Governor for finding them worthy of the assignment and pledged to discharge it diligently and to the best of their ability.