The panel set up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate alleged human rights violations committed by members of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has awarded N575.8 million to the victims of police brutality.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by Fatimah Mohammed, NHRC Deputy Director of Public Affairs, on Friday.
The panel was constituted in October 2020 to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by police following the #ENDSARS protests.
According to the statement, the panel led by Suleiman Galadima, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, considered 20 of the petitions bordering on extrajudicial killing, unlawful arrest, detention, torture, among other issues at its executive session on Thursday.
The panel “agreed that the victims of human rights who got court judgments should be paid”.
The statement read: “The executive session considered 20 out of the 44 petitions on non-adherence by the police of court judgments awarding compensations to victims of human rights violations, and decisions were made on each of the petitions otherwise known as judgment debts,” Mohammed said.
“The petitions on judgment debts of about N575.8million were considered ranging from the award of N200 million to ₦120,000 of cases bordering on extra-judicial killing, unlawful arrest and detention.
“Others are cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and torture, alleged enforced disappearance, confiscation of property, etc.”
On how the judgment debts would be paid, Hillary Ogbonna, Secretary to the panel, said the police would have to make a “commitment to respect court orders while part of the money will be paid from the human rights compensation funds which are expected to be paid for such purposes.
“Apart from assisting the victims of human rights violations to get their compensation paid, Ogbonna said the panel has also taken a decision to order the police authority to issue apologies to some of the petitioners who have issuance of apology as part of their compensation,” the statement added.
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