By Bidon Mibzar, Abuja
The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Tony Ojukwu ESQ, has condemned the recent use of live bullets by security operatives which also led to the killing of peaceful protesters in Lagos and some other parts of the country where state of emergency has been declared.
Ojukwu who expressed his displeasure while inaugurating an 11-Man Independent Investigative Panel of Human Rights Violations by SARS and other units of the Nigeria Police Force, yesterday in Abuja, also said his Commission has directed its staff nationwide to monitor the protest and submit comprehensive reports to enable it make appropriate recommendations to the government for accountability and remedy.
“The Commission is saddened by the turn of events in the ongoing peaceful protest. Whereas the authorities had shown reasonable restrain in management of the protest before now, the turn of events in the past few days are condemnable. The Commission is shocked at the use of live bullets against peaceful protesters as happened yesterday in Lagos and wishes to reiterate that nothing short of holding accountable the officers who directed and unleashed the use of live ammunition against peaceful will be accepted. The hoodlums who infiltrated the protest and attacked police officers and destroyed properties of members of the public should be arrested and tried for their actions. Innocent members of the public who lost their properties due to the actions of these hoodlums must be compensated”, he warned.
Meanwhile, as part of the concerns of Nigerians evidenced by the demands of the protesters to hold erring SARS and Nigeria Police Force (NPF) officers accountable for violation of human rights, an independent investigative panel to be chaired by Justice Suleiman Galadima, a retired justice of the Supreme Court was inaugurated investigate allegations of human rights violations and abuse of power made by defunct SARS and other units of the police. The panel among other things is mandated to make determination as to the damages or compensation payable in relation to any violation of human rights, as well as refer any matter of human rights violation requiring prosecution to the circumstances of the case. The panel is also to make recommendations to government on measures to be taken in respect of operatives of defunct SARS or officers of NPF, if any, found in violation of human rights of citizens and to propose remedial steps that may enhance the professional conduct of defunct SARS operatives, any succeeding unit and other members of the NPF.