At least 103 alleged human rights violation complaints have been by the Presidential Panel on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) from Nigerians since the reform of the security agency began. 

The figure was given on Monday by the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Mr Tony Ojukwu.

Ojukwu, who doubles as the chairman of the presidential panel, gave the figure at the second sitting of the panel for the North-Central zone held at FCT High Court, Maitama, Abuja.

“Out of this number, the panel received 37 complaints from the North-Central zone, 37 from the South-West, 16 from the South-South, 9 from the South-East, 3 from the North-East and 1 complaint from the North-West,” Ojukwu said.

He said that hearing had been concluded on 51 complaints, while 52 complaints were still pending, adding that out of the 52 pending cases, 29 were part heard, while 23 were fresh complaints.

'Some Remarkable Results'

The NHRC boss highlighted that the public hearing of the Presidential Investigation Panel on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) had yielded remarkable positive results in the Squad’s operations.

"The public hearings also serve as an avenue to sensitise public and SARS operatives.

"There are instances the panel was informed that after getting hearing notice, some SARS operatives alleged to have violated human rights reached out to victims for settlements.

“It is interesting to note that the public hearing of the presidential panel on alleged cases of human rights violations against SARS has started yielding some remarkable positive results in the way SARS operatives now carry out their operations.

“There are instances where on the spot investigation over complaints that had lingered before the police were resolved by the panel leading to the recovery of cars allegedly auctioned by some SARS officers without due process.

“There are also cases where property seized or houses locked up by SARS have been released to their owners, among others,” he said.

Also Read: Angry SARS Officer Shoots LASTMA Official Dead

Ojukwu said that since the constitution of the panel by NHRC on the request of the then Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), it had held four sittings in Abuja, Lagos, Owerri and Gombe.

Some persons have refused to show up for fear of intimidation.

He, however, warned that any case of intimidation of complainants or witnesses will be viewed seriously by the panel.

Ojukwu said, “there have been several cases where unruly SARS officers were disciplined by the panel".

He, therefore, urged the Inspector-General of Police to assist and ensure that all complainants before the panel are not molested in anyway by SARS or police officers whose cases are before the panel.

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