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#EndSARS#: NHRC submits presidential panel report to PSC

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Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

The National Human Rights Commission has submitted the report of the Presidential Investigation Panel on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force to the Chairman Police Service Commission, Musliu Smith, for “immediate implementation”.

The report was earlier submitted to the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), in June 2019, but no action was taken on it.

The submission of the report to the PSC 16 months after it was handed over to Buhari for implementation was contained in a statement released on Friday by the NHRC’s Assistant Director Public Affairs, Fatimah Mohammed.

The statement titled, ‘Police Reform: NHRC submits panel’s report to PSC, seeks immediate implementation’, came amid unabated #EndSARS demonstrations demanding the scrapping of SARS, reform of the police and an end to police brutality.

The protests have continued in major Nigerian cities despite the Sunday’s announcement of the disbanding of SARS by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and his subsequent announcement of its replacement with Special Weapon and Tactics Team.

The NHRC stated in its statement on Friday that the Executive Secretary of commission, Tony Ojukwu, while submitting the presidential panel’s report to the PSC boss, “expressed confidence in the ability of the PSC to ensure an effective implementation of the report”.

The statement said the PSC as a key partner “will play a leading role in Police reforms in Nigeria”.

Ojukwu was said to have submitted to Smith, “Volume 11 of the main report which contains the recommendations targeted at bringing the needed reforms in the Police force”.

He was said told the PSC boss that the verbatim report would follow.

“Ojukwu said that now that the report is submitted to the PSC, the hope of Nigerians will be raised towards having a more professional and patriotic Police force that will truly exemplify the maxim, ‘Police is your friend’, which some Nigerians have described as a mirage,” the statement added.

Ojukwu was said to have noted that although there were several challenges hindering government agencies from delivering on their statutory mandates, “we need to be innovative and sometimes add some measure of creativity to do our work despite our challenges”.

Responding, Smith, a former Inspector-General of Police, described the occasion as memorable and commended the NHRC for its good work in the interest of the public.

He said there was a need to put all modalities in place to start the implementation of the recommendations saying, “with what has happened in the last one week, the report has come handy”.

The PSC Chairman noted that the NHRC’s report had given him an idea of the type of reforms needed to be injected into the police force.

Stressing the importance of the selection process, Smith said,going forward “only well trained professionally-minded police personnel will be allowed to serve in specialised units of the force, considering the nature of the jobs that are cut out for them.”

He pledged the readiness of the PSC to closely supervise the trained personnel so as to avoid a revival of the ugly experiences of the defunct SARS personnel.

“W got to where we are now because people who ought to take care failed to do their work well,” he added.

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Groups call for end to nationwide #endSARs protest.

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A group, Citizens Action for Good Governance (CAGG) has called for a halt of the #EndSARS protests, decrying the alarming increase in violent assaults carried out against both citizens and police officers.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday, October 19, the national coordinator of CAGG, Nazir Galadanchi said the protesters should reason with the government and listen to calls and appeals by many well-meaning citizens. Galadanchi further said the heightened insecurity has tarnished the image of the country amongst the comity of nations.

His words:

“The peace of Nigeria should have been the overriding imperative of all. No person or group, no matter how aggrieved, should be allowed to undermine or threaten national security, unity, tranquillity, peace and harmony. “We would like to appeal to our fellow Nigerians, especially young people to halt the protests for their safety because their demands are already being attended to by the government, and we are optimistic that there will be a better life for all.’’

He also appealed to leaders and persons of influence, including celebrities and religious leaders, to persuade their followers and fans to discontinue the protests.

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