Tony Ojukwu, the Secretary-General of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has tendered the report of the Presidential Investigation Panel on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to Musiliu Smith, Chairman Police Service Commission (PSC), for immediate implementation.
Fatimah Mohammad, NHRC’s Assistant Director for Public Affairs, revealed this in a statement entitled ‘Police Reform: NHRC Submits Panel’s Report to PSC, Seeks Immediate Implementation’ on Friday, October 16, 2020.
This came amid unrelenting #EndSARS demonstrations demanding the dissolution of SARS, reform of the police, and an end to police brutality.
The protest is has continued in major cities in Nigeria, despite the announcement of dissolving the unit, which was made by the Inspector-General, Mohammad Adamu on Sunday, and his subsequent announcement of its replacement with Special Weapon and Tactics Team (SWAT).
However, the unrelenting protesters are still clamoring for a total reform of the police.
Tony Ojukwu expressed great confidence in the ability of the commission to ensure and ascertain an effective implementation of the report.
Ojukwu, according to the statement, described the PSC as a key partner, playing a leading role in the quest to ensure a total reform of the Nigeria Police Force.
The statement reads, ‘The Executive Secretary said that now that the report is submitted to the PSC, the hope of Nigerians will be raised towards having a more professional and patriotic police force that will truly exemplify the maxim, ‘Police is your friend’, which some Nigerians have described as a mirage.’
He further stated that ‘now that the report is submitted to the PSC, the hope of Nigerians will be raised towards having a more professional and patriotic Police force that will truly exemplify the maxim, ‘Police is your friend’, which some Nigerians have described as a mirage.’d
Ojukwu was said to have noted that although there were various obstacles impeding the government agencies from delivering on their statutory mandates, he said, ‘we need to be innovative and sometimes add some measure of creativity to do our work despite our challenges.’
Musliu Smith, a former Inspector-General of Police, in response, described the occasion as memorable and commended the NHRC for its good work in the interest of the public.
He emphasised that, there was a need to put all modalities in place to start the implementation of the recommendations saying, ‘with what has happened in the last one week, the report has come handy.’
The PSC Chairman, also highlighted that the NHRC’s report had given him an inkling of the type of reforms needed to be incorporated into the police force.
Reiterating the importance of the selection process, Smith said, going forward ‘only well-trained professionally-minded police personnel will be allowed to serve in specialised units of the force, considering the nature of the jobs that are cut out for them.’
He also, assured the readiness of the PSC to monitor closely, trained personnel so as to avoid a resurgence of the ugly experiences of the defunct SARS personnel