#EndSARS Panels: NHRC confirms receiving reports from 16 States

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The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has confirmed that it has received reports from 16 states in Nigeria regarding the #EndSARS judicial panels. This announcement was made by Anthony Ojukwu, the executive secretary of NHRC, during an event organized by the civil society organization, Enough is Enough (EiE), to mark the third anniversary of the #EndSARS protests against police brutality and human rights violations by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

In November 2020, the federal government, led by former Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo through the National Economic Council (NEC), directed the establishment of #EndSARS panels. These judicial panels were set up by 29 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Anthony Ojukwu stating the importance of addressing human rights violations and providing compensation to those affected by the protests, said, “We are compiling the results of all the 29 panels across the 29 states, and we are hoping that when we can put this together, I think we have been able to collect about 16 state panel reports now, and we are waiting for the feedback from the other states. Once this is completed, we should be able to have a view of the recommendations made across the various states.”

“We should be able to have a global view of officers to be disciplined, victims to be compensated, and the volume of compensation,” he continued. “We will be urging the states not to say that because these panels were directed to be set up by the federal government, it, therefore, becomes the sole responsibility of the federal government to deal with issues arising from these panels.”

He stressed the need for states where the violations occurred to take responsibility and compensate their citizens. “The first issue to be noted here is that these police officers were serving in various states, the citizens whose rights were violated are indigenes of various states, so there is no reason why the states where these violations took place should not at least pay compensation to their citizens as required by the constitution.”

Ojukwu also called on individuals, civil society organizations, and state governors to ensure that the police are held accountable to prevent future #EndSARS protests.

Ibrahim Farouk, the program coordinator at YIAGA Africa, also added his voice to the discussion. He mentioned that YIAGA Africa deployed observers to all 29 states to monitor the panel proceedings. He highlighted challenges, including financial, technical, and resource constraints, faced by many of the panels.

Farouk emphasized the importance of making the reports from all 29 panels public, allowing Nigerians to know if justice was served. He said, “One very step is to make the report public so that young people who made presentations at the panel would see that justice was done or was said to have been done.”

He also mentioned that administrative, technical, and resource constraints posed challenges for several panels, with some even being suspended due to financial constraints.