The National Human Rights Commission has submitted a list of 35 operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), for prosecution.
The Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Mr Tony Ojukwu, submitting the list at the AGF office on Monday in Abuja, said the list was an extract of the full report of the Special Presidential Panel on SARS earlier submitted to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), on June 3, 2019.
The Executive Secretary said, “In line with mandate of the panel, the commission is here today to submit the list to you, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the list of all officers who have been indicted in the report"
“The list contains the names of all those who are to be prosecuted for various offences by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice”
Ojukwu stressed that the list of the indicted operatives was accompanied with the full report of the panel to guide the prosecution of the indicted operatives.
“We have also brought the original copy of the full report which will also guide the office of the Attorney-General in looking at the details for the required prosecution, because the summary will not have all the documents"
“We brought the full report which will guide the prosecuting officers”
Malami in responds, said his office would do justice to the list “through prosecution and taking associated incidental administrative steps”
The minister, who said the Buhari regime had embarked on policies and legislations such as the Police Act 2020 to ensure deep reforms of the police in the country, also said the panel’s report would not be implemented to protect the interest of the victims without considering the interests of the general society.
He said the report would be implemented in line with the “multi-way-traffic nature of the justice system”
Ojukwu said the submission of the list of the indicted SARS officails came over one year after submitting the report to the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), because of the long time it took the white paper panel to conclude their job and to obtain the necessary approvals for the recommendations of the implementation committee.
He also said the list submitted to the AGF contained the names of 35 operatives earlier handed to the Police Service Commission last week for disciplinary action.
“All the people to be dismissed are going to be prosecuted”
He added that the report of the panel contained the list of operatives to be dismissed and demoted, as well as lists of people to be compensated or apologised to via newspaper publications.
Ojukwu who described the ongoing anti-SARS protests as genuine said, “SARS violation is a daily thing. For instance, that report was about violations as of 2018. There have been violations from 2018 till today. Some people were shot last week. Even if the panel finishes sitting today, after some time, it has to sit again so that it can look at new cases"
“Part of the recommendations of the former panel is that this panel that should sit over complaints on police impunity continually from time to time. As they accumulate like that, they should be dealt with, so that in our country we will never have a time when we will get to this stage"
“Because of past years of not attending to these things in this way, they have accumulated and you see the results on the streets"
“They are genuine concerns, they are genuine reasons to be on the streets. So,we are saying never again, this will never happen again in our history"
“What we are trying to institutionalise is a system that will keep making sure that impunity does not go unpunished”
The submission came amid protests by the youth in different parts of the country calling for the scrapping of SARS, an end to police brutality and reform of the police force.