By Rita Iliya
Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger has inaugurated a 14-man judicial panel of inquiry, to investigate cases of police brutality and other related extrajudicial acts by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the state.
Mr Ishaku Usman is the Chairman while Abdulrahim Tariq is the Secretary.
Bello stated that the panel of inquiry became necessary as a result of the violence that erupted from the peaceful #EndSARS protests that were hijacked by some elements.
“As governors, we are saddened by the turn out of events that led to the loss of lives and property across the country, as we are trying to curtail the situation and to meet the demands of genuine protesters,” he said.
The governor stated that the terms of reference of the panel included receiving complaints of police brutality, human rights, extrajudicial acts by the disbanded SARS from persons or groups within the state.
He noted that they are to investigate any complaints of police brutality, abuse of human rights and extrajudicial killings by the disbanded SARS by persons or groups.
Others he said were to determine the nature of acts of human rights violation and brutality of rights committed by SARS and examine to what extent its action or inaction had affected human rights of individuals in the state.
Bello stated that the panel should identify acts of commission or omission of persons brutalised, and whose rights have been violated and whether the actions were justified under the law, and make recommendations.
He noted that the panel was to recommend appropriate sanctions against all personnel of police-involved or implicated in cases of brutality or any form of abuse of human rights.
The governor said that the panel was to seek advice from resource persons, to assist in carrying out its work and gave the panel one month to submit its findings.
He advised the panel to do a thorough job, be transparent as well as ensure justice and equity on the part of citizens and the police.
Responding, Usman appreciated the governor for finding them worthy to carry out such tasks and promised to discharge their duties effectively.
Other members of the panel are Dan Azumi Job Doma (Rtd); Mr Adamu Usman- Former AG/HCJ; Mrs Abiola James (Ministry of Justice); Malam Nuhu Mohammed (NHRC); Bello Barau Sheriff (Civil Society Org.) and Mr Isah Aliyu Panti (NBA Rep).
Others include Mr Bukhari Yakubu Yarima (CSO); Lawal Abdulkadir Abugi (Student rep); Hajiya Zainab Ibrahim Kuchi; Baba Aliyu Kutigi- Lead counsel; Ahmed Yusuf Emu-Counsel and Sarah Gana-Counsel.