#EndSARS panel commends ex-Abuja CP for helping police brutality victims

#EndSARS panel commends ex-Abuja CP for helping police brutality victims

The Abuja #EndSARS panel probing allegations of human rights violations perpetrated by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian police, on Monday, commended a former commissioner of police of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, for providing funds for the treatment of two victims of police brutality.

Bala Ciroma, currently an assistant inspector general of police of the zonal headquarters, Wuse Zone 7, Abuja, was said to have intervened in the treatment of Mohammed Dan’Asabe and one Mrs Kate who were allegedly shot at by police officers in Abuja in 2019.

The panel through, its chairperson, Suleiman Galadima, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, commended Mr Ciroma for the help rendered to the victims, while he was the FCT police boss.

But Mr Galadima also noted that the victims needed more compensation.

Petition

The petitioners, with the complaints of an alleged threat to life, told the panel that on April 19, 2019, while in a cab in Banex Plaza neighborhood in Abuja, the driver turned into a filling station for refuelling.

On leaving the filling station, according to Mr Mohammed, a police officer at a checkpoint, flagged down the taxi, but the driver refused to stop. The driver was said to have later stopped and abandoned them in the taxi and fled.

Mr Mohammed, the petitioner, claimed that he heard gunshots and then saw a police officer holding a gun to his head.

According to Mr Mohammed, he later learnt that the gunshots had broken his legs in three places, while a bullet also went through the other passenger, Mrs Kate’s left and right leg.

“We were transferred to Maitama General Hospital, but later referred to the National Hospital, where the AIG, then CP FCT, Bala Ciroma, paid us a visit on the third day,” he said.

Mr Mohammed further informed the panel that Mr Ciroma had apologised for the incident and promised to guarantee that the officer in question would be held accountable for his actions.

In addition, Mr Mohammed told the panel that Mr Ciroma paid roughly N300,000 for the limb surgery he had and evenly distributed N50,000 feeding allowance to each of them.

The petitioners, who were said to have lost their means of livelihood as a result of their injuries, are seeking N10 million compensation.

Mr Galadima, the panel chairperson, stressed the need to give due consideration to the complainants’ situation.

The matter was adjourned till November 30 for the adoption of final addresses.

#EndSARS resumes sitting after one week break

The panel resumed sitting in Abuja on Monday after a one-week break.

The spokesperson for National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Fatima Mohammed, said the panel would sit for another two weeks from November 22 to December 2, before another break.

The 11-member panel inaugurated by the NHRC in October 2020 had, since inception, been forced to adjourn many cases due to lack of cooperation and commitment of police officers who are meant to appear to testify.

The panel had also commended the appearance of a few police officers before the panel as well as the efforts of the police legal team in some of the cases to ensure justice was done in some of the cases.

The panel, which has been replicated in at least 28 states, is known as the #EndSARS panel, a suitable name for a product of the #EndSARS protest against police violence in October 2020.

The majority of the state-created panels have submitted their reports and recommendations, which urge compensation for victims of police violence as well as sanctions or prosecution for erring police officers.

The Abuja panel was earlier crippled for over six months before resuming sitting on October 17.

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