Presidential panel concludes sitting on 52 pending cases of Human Rights violations by SARS.


The Presidential Investigation Panel (PIP) on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force says it is set to conclude the 52 pending cases of allegations of human rights violations comprising fresh and part-heard complaints on January 26, 2018.
The Chairman of the PIP and the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mr. Tony Ojukwu who made this disclosure on Monday in his welcome statement at the second Abuja Public sitting of the PIP noted that the Panel has successfully sat and heard cases across the six geopolitical zones of the country before coming back to the North Central zone in Abuja for conclusion of pending cases which will be heard within two weeks.
According to the Chairman, a total of 103 complaints of alleged human rights violations were received by the secretariat of the Panel, and the Panel has concluded hearing on 51 of the complaints while 52 are pending.
Ojukwu disclosed that the PIP on allegations of human rights violations has started yielding remarkable positive results in the way SARS operatives carry out their operations pointing out that the forum is being used to sensitize SARS operatives who appear before the panel on the need to discharge their duties within the ambit of the law.
He also revealed that during the investigative hearing, instances abound where the Panel was informed that after service of hearing notices on some SARS operatives who were alleged to have violated human rights in the course of carrying out their duties, they reached out to victims of alleged human rights violations, owned up to their mistakes and sought ways of resolving the matter amicably before the cases were called up by the Panel.
“There are also instances where on the spot investigation over the complaints that had lingered before the Police were resolved by the Panel leading to the recovery of cars allegedly auctioned by some SARS Officer without due process and there are cases where properties seized or houses locked up by SARS have been released to the owners”, the Chairman stated.
Despite these successes, the NHRC boss who is presiding over the public hearing noted that the Panel has faced some challenges including failure of the Police in some cases, to conduct post-mortem examination on suspects alleged to have died while in Police custody and their evidence would have aided the speedy determination of the complaints.
The Chairman said that in some of the cases, hearing was frustrated as the complainants were unwilling to appear despite assurances of their safety by the Panel and in the lights of this development; he said that the Panel views seriously any cases of intimidation of complainants or witnesses. 
He said that there have also been several cases where unruly SARS Officers were disciplined by the Panel even as he restated the resolve of the Panel to adhere to the principle of fair hearing in discharging its functions and will not stand idle and watch while the fundamental human rights of citizens are trampled upon and violated by law enforcement agencies, entities or individuals.