Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has constituted a judicial panel of inquiry to investigate abuses carried out by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the state.
This follows the ongoing protests calling for an end to extra-judicial killings by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. Governor Sanwo-Olu announced this on Sunday night through his Twitter handle.
He said the commission of inquiry will be inaugurated on Monday, 19 October 2020. In an open letter, the governor listed the objectives of the panel to include hearing the accounts of victims of police brutality and also to determine the level of compensation to be given to them.
“I want to put out the terms of reference of the panel. Which are….. To listen to and take evidence from all victims or families of victims of SARS abuse within Lagos State. And also give them an opportunity to air and vent their grievances in public,” he wrote.
For the clarification of the general public and in view of the inauguration of The Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution into SARS Abuses happening tomorrow, I want to put out the terms of reference of the panel.
The ToR are essentially the following…
— Babajide Sanwo-Olu (@jidesanwoolu) October 18, 2020
Sanwo-Olu added, “the Judicial Panel after listening to victims or their families would then verify and determine if they are entitled to compensation and in what amount it would be. Upon determining the compensation payable, the Judicial Panel is to immediately issue a cheque in favour of the victim or their dependents.”
He vowed to ensure that erring officers are prosecuted for the crimes committed. “The Judicial Panel is also to determine and identify the officers (or anyone for that matter) responsible for abusing any victim and recommend the prosecution of such persons,” he said.
The governor continued listing out more powers as he appreciated the efforts of youths leading the ongoing cause. “The Panel shall also have powers to make recommendations to Government on how to ensure that the rights of citizens are never abused nor trampled upon again,” he said.
“The Panel has the powers to compel and summon witnesses to appear before it. The State Government expects the Panel to use these powers to ensure that all necessary parties appear to testify.
“The Lagos State Government unquestionably identifies with the calls for reforms of the Police. A better run and administered Police force would undoubtedly be to the advantage of the State Government and all residents of the state. Our stance is Zero tolerance for Police Brutality.
“The setting up of the Judicial Panel is a very important step in the journey to reforming the Police. We urge all citizens of our dear State to partner with us in this journey. We appreciate and recognize the efforts of the youths which has made this necessary change inevitable.”
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