The Alliance for the Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to implement recommendations of a 2018 presidential panel on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad reform if he was serious about the nationwide outrage against the police unit.
ASCAB also called on state governors to ensure that the Nigeria Police Council established under section 153 of the constitution met regularly to address the increasing wave of insecurity in the country.
Femi Falana, Chairman of the group, in a statement charged Buhari to walk his talk on how to investigate all complaints of human rights abuse against the now disbanded SARS.
The statement reads, “Following public outcry in 2018 against the indiscriminate arrests and detention, extortion and extrajudicial killings as well as other horrendous human rights abuse of the Nigerian people perpetrated by the operatives of the SARS the Federal Government responded by setting up a Presidential Panel of Enquiry to investigate all complaints of human rights abuse. It is on record that many Nigerians submitted reports and memoranda and gave clear evidence of police abuse. But that the Federal Government has not implemented the recommendations of the panel after two years of the submission of its report.
“Some of the recommendations of the panel are: dismissal of 37 police officers from the force and the prosecution of 24 others; Investigation of 22 officers involved in the violation of human rights of innocent citizens; payment of compensation of various sums in 45 complaints and tender of public apologies in five complaints and compliance with court orders in five matters. Renaming of SARS to Anti-Robbery Section (ARS), which was its original name, and to make the section operate under the intelligence arm of the police.
“On June 3, 2019, the President directed the Inspector-General of Police and the Solicitor-General of the Federation/Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice to liaise with the National Human Rights Commission to work out the modalities for the implementation of the report within three months.
“The President announced that he had approved the reconstitution of the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission and that the names of the council members would be submitted to the Senate for confirmation in line with the provisions of the National Human Rights Commission Act.
“In view of the concern recently expressed by both President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo about the allegations of human rights violations routinely committed by the operatives of SARS the Federal Government must walk its talk by implementing the recommendations of the Presidential Panel on SARS reform. Furthermore, the Governing Council of the National Human Rights Commission should be reconstituted by the President without any further delay.”
ASCAB also enjoined Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation, to expedite action in prosecuting military officers involved in terrorist attacks.
“The Attorney-General of the Federation should carry out his duty prescribed by section 12 of the Anti Torture Act of 2017 by making rules and regulation for the effective implementation of the Act including the training and education of personnel involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of any individual subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment.
“The military personnel who freed an arrested kidnap suspect in Taraba State last year and executed three policemen on duty should be prosecuted in line with the order of the Federal High Court. Similarly, the soldiers who recently killed Terwase Akwaza (widely known as Gana) on his way to Makurdi to formally accept amnesty from the Governor of Benue should be arrested and prosecuted by the Attorney-General for terrorist attacks.
“The Attorney General should ensure the immediate payment of damages awarded against the police for human rights violations.”