Tag: Nigerian Police

sars-police

SARS Reforms Begins Sitting, Receives 27 Complaints

The Presidential Panel on the Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS) Reforms for the North Central Zone has received 27 complaints and will hold public sitting on the complaints from October 22 to October 25.

The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tony Ojukwu, said this on Monday in Abuja in his welcome remarks at the commencement of the panel’s public sitting.

According to Mr Ojukwu, the essence is “to increase access to the services of the commission.

“And to seek accountability where there is evidence to indicate that officers or officials of SARS have been involved in acts amounting to human rights violation in the course of carrying out their law enforcement duties.

“Also, to provide opportunities for fair hearing to both complainants and alleged violators and to main stream human rights norms and tenets into the operations and administration of SARS in line with global best practices.”

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo had, in August, requested the NHRC to constitute the panel to hear and investigate complaints against SARS and to make recommendations.

Mr Ojukwu said the specific terms of reference of the panel are: “To investigate the veracity of allegations of human rights abuses and abuse of power made against SARS within the last two years.

“To independently review and render advice on any value added by SARS, from a public safety and security perspective, and make recommendations to government.”

 In his goodwill message, Benjamin Okolo, a deputy supereintendent of police, representing the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris, said the police would co-operate with the panel and abide by the outcome.

“We have already started some reforms and we believe that the outcome of this panel will equally enhance what we are doing.”

Mr Okolo assured the panel that nobody would be victimised, intimidated or harassed for airing their views or submitting complaints.

For his part, Idris Bawa of the Nigeria Policing Program (NPP) said the public hearing would add value to reforms in the Police Force.

In his keynote address, Akingbolahan Adeniran, from the presidency said the public hearing would enhance all aspects of community policing for better performance.

According to him, the aim is to adequately regulate activities of the police and efficiently direct intelligence gathering.

“We expect the police to appear more as an intelligent driven organisation and work has already started in this area; very soon the police will be more proactive,” Mr Adeniran said.

Read the original article on Premium Times

Court

Court Orders Police to Pay N10m to Businessman Over Violation of Human Rights

The Federal High Court, Maitama Abuja, on Monday ordered the Nigeria Police Force, to pay N10million as compensation to one Aondofa Shenge, for violating his fundamental human rights.

The judge, Justice John Tsoho, in his judgment, also restrained the police from further arrest and detention of Shenge.

Tsoho upheld the prayers of the counsel to the applicant, Mr Matthew Onoja, and dismissed the preliminary objection raised by counsel to the police, Mr Matthew Omosun.

Onoja had earlier told the court that his client was arrested by some police officers in Makurdi in August 2017, and held in detention for more than a year without charges.

Onoja said his client who is a businessman, was arrested and detained in the NPF Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) office in Makurdi, until January 2018 when he was formally transferred to Abuja.

He said when the police failed to release the applicant on bail, the matter was taken to the court.

Onoja said the case of fundamental human rights abuse was formally filed in April 2018.

The lawyer maintained that the case was filed to challenge the Inspector General of Police and his deputy on arrest and detention of the applicant from August 2017 until date.

He said the matter first came up on April 20, before the court went on vacation, and the respondent did not file any process, even after the vacation.

Onoja said this further led to adjourning the case until Oct. 3 for hearing.

“On that date, we indicated our interest to go on with the matter since we had already filed our processes but counsel to the NPF said he was not ready,’’ Onoja said.

He also said that counsel to the police, Omosun told the court that he was yet to file his processes, working behind the scene to ensure that the applicant was granted bail.

He said that as the case progressed, counsel to the police later filed application for preliminary objection; which the court dismissed on point of law.

LEDAP LAUNCHES TORTURE PROJECT IN PARTNERSHIP WITH UNDEF

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In partnership with the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and the National Committee against Torture, LEDAP has launched a project to tackle torture and ill treatment in policing. The project will be located Lagos, Adamawa , Yobe States, as well as at the Federal Capital Territory.

PROJECT SUMMARY
The use of torture and sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in law enforcement has remained a major human rights challenge in Nigeria and has further increased with the current counter-terrorism operations of the police and military. Torture and other forms of ill treatment are widely used by police to obtain information and confessions from suspects, to intimidate, exploit, and to exert dominance and superiority over the weak. Also, women detainees are raped within the first hours of detention. In all these violations, most survivors are unable to report or seek redress and perpetrators are rarely punished. The Nigerian criminal and penal codes fail to explicitly criminalize the use of torture to extract information. As such, everyday law enforcement practices are in many cases inconsistent with the constitutional provision prohibiting torture.

This project seeks to address the increasing incidents of torture and SGBV committed by the police in Nigeria especially in the context of the on-going fight against terrorism and the introduction of Shari’a laws in 12 northern states including two target states of the project; Adamawa and Yobe state. The strategy is to address the specific problems of both the supply and demand sides in torture prevention. It will address the police’s poor anti-torture knowledge and attitudes (supply side), and at the same time empower the civil society and the public to monitor and demand for accountability wherever torture occurs (demand side).

The overall objective is to move Nigeria towards effective prevention and reduction of incidences of torture. This will be achieved by improving the understanding of police personnel and encouraging a human rights centered approach towards the treatment of suspects by police personnel. Also, by providing capacity for civil society organisations and victims of torture to demand for accountability. Particularly, this project is designed to increase knowledge and improve the attitude of over 7,300 police staff in Nigeria (supply side) towards torture prevention, and empower the demand side of human rights (330 representatives of CSOs (180), lawyers (50), journalists (20), Paralegals (80)) to report and support survivors and victims of torture and SGBV to assert and defend their rights to freedom from torture and ill treatment. The project will give assistance to 120 victims, including providing direct legal support to at least 20 cases (including 5 high impact cases) to improve jurisprudence in the area.

Furthermore, the project advocates for policy change and legal reform including engaging in dialogue with key actors, adopting a national policy on torture prevention and advocating for passing into law of the anti-torture bill, which is pending in the parliament. If successfully implemented, the project will build a sustainable pilot that addresses the needs and capacity of both the supply and demand sides of the prevention of torture and ill treatment, which could be replicated to all police formations and other law enforcement institutions in the country.