Northern states receive over 120 petitions against SARS — despite governors’ denial of brutality - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

Northern states receive over 120 petitions against SARS — despite governors’ denial of brutality

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By Our Correspondent


Despite opposition against the disbandment of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) by northern governors, some state panels have continued to receive petitions from individuals on police harassment.
 
Protesters had taken to streets across major cities in the country for over two weeks in October, to demand an end to police brutality and bad governance.

The federal government had directed all state governors to set up judicial panels of inquiry to investigate complaints on police brutality or related extrajudicial killings — with a six-month time frame.

But 19 northern governors led by Simon Lalong, Plateau state governor and chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, kicked against the disbandment of the police unit, saying it has been useful in the fight against insecurity in the region.
 
However, over 120 petitions have been submitted to various panels set up in some of the northern states.

In Katsina, Abbas Bawale, chairman of the judicial panel, on Sunday, told journalists that 61 petitions have been received from various individuals ahead of the public hearing which would commence on November 23, 2020.

Also, Mark Mallan, registrar of the Plateau state panel, disclosed that as of November 13, petitions received by the panel have reached 30.
 
The Taraba state panel has received 11 petitions, 16 have been submitted in Nasarawa, while Kwara has 10.

Hajaratu Mohammed, Kaduna state judicial panel secretary, also confirmed that the state has received several petitions from indigenes.

Mohammed said although three petitions were submitted directly to her office, the total number of petitions received cannot be ascertained as the panel is yet to have its inaugural sitting. She confirmed that some petitions have been received by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the state and some other offices at the local government level.

Already, 29 states and the federal capital territory have set up the judicial panels of inquiry as directed by the federal government. But some of the panels are yet to commence sitting, while some are yet to receive any petition.

The states yet to set up their judicial panels of enquiry are Borno, Kebbi, Kano, Sokoto, Yobe, Jigawa and Zamfara.