Bauchi State Governor, Sen Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed has called on the 17-member Judicial Panel of inquiry into human rights abuses, to be fair, thorough and just to all those who will appear before it to lodge complaints on the inhuman treatment meted on them by the personnel of the disbanded SARS in the state.
While inaugurating the panel on Wednesday at the banquet hall of the government house, the governor pledged to give the panel the full support and cooperation required to succeed in its assignment.
The governor said that the constitution of the panel was in compliance with the federal government’s directive on governors to complement its efforts in investigating human right abuses by the disbanded SARS across the country.
He also said that their terms of reference are 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 a progress report to the government on a monthly basis.
Others terms of reference of the judicial panel according to the governor is to receive 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.
He said that “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 reform in the Police operation in the country.
Bala Mohammed regretted that, in spite 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.
The governor added that “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 then tasked members of the Judicial panel on human rights abuses to discharge the assignment with all sense of dedication, commitment, justice, fairness and patriotism in order to facilitate ushering in the needed reforms into the police force as aspired by the Nigerians.
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.
While responding on behalf of the members of the panel, Chairman of the Judicial Panel on human rights abuses, 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.
He declared that “it is not congratulations we want from you but prayers because the assignment is onerous, we need prayers and divine guidance from God to be able to succeed”.
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