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Presidential panel recommends 61 SARS officers for prosecution, dismissal

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The Presidential Panel on reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has recommended that the Police Service Commission (PSC) dismisses 37 police officers and 24 others for prosecution and dismissal over alleged brutality and extra-judicial killing across the country.

It said that the officers were discovered to have been found wanting following an investigation into allegations of human rights violations and abuse of office against SARS operatives in the country.

The recommendation and others were contained in the 2018 Report of the Presidential Panel which was presented to the Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), Musiliu Smith, a retired Inspector General of Police, by National Human Rights Commission team Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu, on Friday.

Ojukwu, who solicited PSC support in the implementation of the report, stated that investigated allegations of human rights violations and abuse of office against SARS as well as recommended reform of the outfit.

The Executive Secretary told the PSC Chairman that the commission has all it takes to deal appropriately with the Report of the Presidential Panel on Reform of SARS.

He noted that the Panel called for and received 113 complaints on alleged human rights violations from across the country and 22 memoranda on suggestions on how to reform and restructure SARS and the Nigeria Police in general.

According to him, at the end of the public hearing, the panel recommended 37 Police Officers for dismissal, and 24 were recommended for prosecution.

“The Panel also directed the Inspector General of Police to unravel the identity of 22 officers involved in the violation of the human rights of innocent citizens,” Ojukwu stated.

After receiving the delegation, Smith said that the PSC would collaborate and support the Human Rights Commission in the promotion of good governance.

He, however, said that for effective reform of the much-maligned SARS, there must be a deliberate effort to select capable, professional and credible people to replace the disbanded outfit. The selected Officers, he added, must be properly trained and exposed to regular training.

Smith said there must also be close supervision of the newly selected officers so that the nation will not experience the rot that became the fate of the disbanded unit.

Any misconduct, he noted, should be severely and promptly handled. He, however, said the government should show more concern to the funding of its vital Agencies as these Agencies need funds to do their job.

He also made a case for proper and ‘living accommodation for the Officers of the Nigeria Police, stressing that these Officers need good accommodation to put in their best.

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