Augustine Okezie, Katsina and From Sola Shittu, Gombe
THE judicial panel recently inaugurated by Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State to look into alleged brutalisation of citizens by men of the disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, on Saturday in Katsina, invited members of the public who were on the receiving end of the unit and other aggrieved citizens, to submit their memorandum and complaints to the commission within two weeks.
A text message obtained by The Nation from the Registrar, Katsina State High Court, Barrister Kabiru Shu’aibu, read: “… the Commission has given two weeks from Friday October 30 for the submission of memorandum at their secretariat at No 3, Modoji Estate, Katsina.’’
Governor Aminu Bello Masari had inaugurated the judicial panel on October 23, to, among other terms of reference, investigate the excesses of the disbanded Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad and fish out the perpetrators of SARS brutality, as well as assess the extent of injuries and damages to lives and properties.
Meanwhile, several stakeholders have reacted to the two-week deadline issued by the panel for the victims to make their submissions, stressing that most of the complainants were at the community base levels and needed adequate sensitisation and preparation on how to make their submissions.
A Katsina-based civil society activist, Dr. Bashir Ruwangodia, told The Nation that the two weeks is too short and requested the commission to extend the deadline to enable adequate mobilisation of aggrieved persons.
He also disagreed with the suggestion of extension of the eight weeks deadline for the submission of reports, insisting that it was a national assignment that is simultaneously taking place nationwide.
Similarly, Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State, on Saturday, inaugurated a panel of inquiry with eight terms of reference towards unearthing human right violations by the disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad and other Nigeria Police Unit or security agency.
According to him, “There is no doubt that the Nigeria Police Force is playing a big role in the preservation of law and order in the society, despite the significant challenges it faces. The police and other security agencies are the only forces standing between our communities and anarchy.
“However, complaints of human rights abuses, extortion and extra judicial killing have put a huge dent on the Nigeria Police Force. As a people oriented government, we are committed to protecting life, property and humanity of our people.
Yahaya stated these while inaugurating the panel to be chaired by Rrtd. Justice Sa’ad Mohammed.
“The panel is to collect complaints from victims or the members on allegations of human right violations by personnel of the disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad and any other police force unit or security agency in Gombe state….
In his acceptance speech, chairman of the panel Rrtd. Justice Sa’ad Mohammed said the commission will not compromise adding that everyone will have a fair chance.