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Presidential Panel On ENDSARS Okays Protesters Demand

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Following directives by President Muhammadu Buhari on dissolution of Special Anti-Robbery Squad and immediate response to yearnings of citizens, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, convened a meeting with stakeholders, agreeing to meet demands, which include halting use of force against protesters and unconditional release of arrested citizens.

The meeting, organized by the Office of the Inspector General of Police and National Human Rights Commission, was a multi-stakeholders’ forum attended by leaders and representatives of civil society organisations in Nigeria, activists from the entertainment industry and the ENDSARS movement and development partners.
The Ministry of Police Affairs and Police Service Commission were also present at the meeting that affirmed that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.
A communiqué of Stakeholders’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) said:
“Following the public protests regarding various forms of human rights violations by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the consequent disbandment of the unit by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, there arose the need for stakeholder engagement to build trust and restore public confidence in law enforcement.
“The agitations also brought to the fore, the need to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“The Forum was addressed by the Inspector General of Police and the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission.
“The Forum collectively: welcomed the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Reaffirmed the constitutional rights of Nigerians to peaceful assembly and protest; Further affirmed the sanctity of life of every Nigerian and the role of the Police in protecting this right; Affirms that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.’’
According to the communiqué signed by the Inspector General of Police and Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, Esq, the Forum noted that the dissolution of SARS presents an opportunity to embark on comprehensive reforms aimed at repositioning the Nigerian Police Force as a modern, responsive and citizens-centred law enforcement organisation.
“The Forum further notes that the proposed reforms should be anchored under the basis of the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was jointly authored by the National Human Rights Commission, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Nigeria Police Force.
“The Forum affirms that reform proposals for the Nigerian Police Force will be based on Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and existing legislations such as the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act, 2019, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, and the National Human Rights Commission Act, 2010 amongst others.
“Following the dissolution of SARS, the Forum calls for the following immediate steps to be taken in restoring public confidence and trust in the Police: An order by the Inspector General of Police to all State Commands to halt the use of force against protesters; Unconditional release of arrested protesters and citizens; Open communication and outreach to citizens to establish trust and confidence and a roadmap for the implementation of the White Paper of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the SARS.
“The Forum welcomed the proposal to set up an Independent Investigation Panel to look into the violations of human rights by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Nigerian Police. The Forum agrees to the setting up of this Independent Panel by the National Human Rights Commission within the next one week. An open call for Memoranda from members of the public whose rights have been violated by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Police will be released by the Commission within one week.
“The Forum recommends the psychological evaluation, training and retraining of disbanded SARS officials prior to re-deployment. The Forum resolves to set up the following Technical Sub-Committees to design an implementation roadmap and work plan for the implementation of the White Paper: Training, Capacity and Re-orientation; Logistics: Infrastructure, Communications and Technology; Arrest, Detention, and Investigations; Regulations, Oversight and Accountability and Financing and Partnerships.’’
The communiqué stated that sub-Committees will be supported by the National Human Rights Commission and other civil society organisations.
Those who attended the meeting are: Dr Kole Shettima- MAC Arthur Foundation; Innocent Chukwuma – Ford Foundation; Jude Ilo- of OSIWA; Segun Awosanya(segalinks) – End Sars Movement; Yemi Adamolekun- Enough is Enough; Clément Nwankwo- PLAC; Rafsanjani- CISLAC; Kemi Okonyedo- PWAN; YZ – CITAD; Folarin Falana Falz; Prof Deji Adekunle –NIALS; Chris Ngwodo, SSA to President Research & Policy; Dr Fatima Waziri – Rule of Law Adviser OVP and Abdulrahman Yakubu – NHRC Secretariat.
Others are: Hilary Ogbonna- NHRC secretariat; Halilu Adamu – NHRC Secretariat; Ben Aguh – NHRC secretariat; Dr Uju Agomuoh – PRAWA and Onyinye Ndubuisi – UNDP.

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Minister Affirms Nigeria Air Will Take Off April 2022

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Nigeria’s national carrier, Nigeria Air, will take off by April 2022, Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, said on Wednesday.

The minister announced the take-off date while briefing state house correspondents after the federal executive council (FEC) meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja.

He said the national carrier will be run by a company in which the Nigerian government will hold a five percent stake while Nigerian entrepreneurs will hold 46 percent.

He said the remaining 49 percent will be reserved for yet to be assigned strategic equity partners, including foreign investors.

Sirika said the national carrier, when operational, will create about 70,000 jobs for Nigerians.

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#EndSARS: Panel Affirmed Nine Killed, Four Missing, 24 Injured At Lekki Toll Gate

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No fewer than nine #EndSARS protesters were killed at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020.

This was contained in the report of the reports submitted by the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters obtained by our correspondent on Monday.

According to the report, nine protesters were confirmed dead while four were presumed dead.

The report listed 48 names as those who were casualties of the Lekki incident of October 20, 2020.

Among the 48 casualties listed, 24 sustained gunshot injuries, while 15 others were assaulted by soldiers and police.

The panel also noted that 96 other corpses were presented by a Forensic Pathologist of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Professor John Obafunwa.

According to the 309-page report, the protesters were killed by suspected policemen and soldiers.

Part of the report read, ” The evidence before the panel shows that after the Nigerian Army left, Nigeria Police Force, followed up with the killing of the protesters, shooting directly at fleeing
protesters into the shanties and the Lagoon at the Lekki Phase 1 Foreshore, close to the Lekki Toll Gate, floating corpse and one shot close to Serah Ibrahim.

“Several unidentified bodies were removed by security agencies and LASEHMU (Lagos State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit) and deposited at various hospital mortuaries in Lagos State.

“Three trucks with brushes underneath were brought to the Lekki Toll Gate in the morning of October 21st October, 2020 to clean up the scene of bloodstains and other evidence.

“The testimony and report of Professor John Obafunwa, a Forensic Pathologist of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, showed that three corpses were deposited at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba Hospital, all from the Lekki Toll Gate and the autopsy conducted thereon revealed death from bleeding caused by penetrating objects or rifled weapon.

“The Panel finds that the fact of lack of identity of some of the other 96 corpses on the list supplied by Professor Obafunwa would not obliterate the fact that some of them could have come from the Lekki Toll Gate Incident of October 20, 2020, or that some other unidentified corpses may have been removed by their families or the military, as claimed by the EndSARS protesters, far and beyond the list tendered by Professor Obafunwa.”

The panel was inaugurated on October 19, 2020, to look into complaints of citizens against human rights abuses by the police.

Following the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, the terms of reference of the Panel were expanded to cover that incident.

The panel sat for over one year, listening to testimonies of petitioners, witnesses, experts, and lawyers.

The panel treated 235 petitions and awarded N410 million to 70 victims.

The PUNCH

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Lagos #EndSARS Panel Submits Report

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The Lagos judicial panel on police brutality submitted its report on Monday to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the government house, Ikeja, Lagos.

The panel submitted two sets of reports — a consolidated report on police brutality cases and the Lekki incident investigation.

On October 19, 2020, as part of recommendations put forward during the #EndSARS protests, the Lagos government inaugurated the judicial panel to investigate petitions on police brutality in the state.

Speaking after receiving the report, Sanwo-Olu said it is the beginning of the “difficult process of proper reconciliation and restitution”.

The governor commended members of the panel for the work done, adding that posterity will be kind to them.

He said the report will be submitted to the national economic council (NEC), adding that “proper response” will be accorded to the recommendations.

Sanwo-Olu also constituted a four-member committee headed by Moyosore Onigbanjo, the state’s attorney-general, to come up with a white paper on the panel’s recommendations within the next two weeks.

“I’m believing and trusting that this process will help us start the very difficult process of proper reconciliation, restitution, bringing together of anyone that must have been one form or the other being affected,” he said.

“By either the police or any of our citizens that must have been wronged by one form or the other, the process of healing, I imagine, with the submission of this panel report, will start that process.”

The sitting was initially meant to last for six months but the period of proceedings stretched into one year.

The panel concluded its sitting on October 18, 2021, and said its findings and recommendations would be submitted to the state government.

Doris Okuwobi, chairperson of the panel, had said 186 of the 252 petitions submitted were deliberated upon.

According to an infographic released by the panel, the sum of N409.7 million was awarded to 70 petitioners.

However, the decision of the panel not to disclose its report on the Lekki shooting incident did not go down well with many Nigerians, including lawyers representing #EndSARS protesters.

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