RINU Oduala, one of the campaigners against Police brutality, has called for the implementation of various recommendations from respective panels that investigated the excesses of policemen across the country.
“The panels of enquiries should not end at the recommendations,” said Rinu, during her appearance on Arise Television on Wednesday.
She said that the only lasting and fulfilling respite that the victims of Police brutality could get was an outright punishment of their tormentors.
Rinu, who resigned from the Lagos State panel on Police brutality, lamented that one of the concerns of the panel during its business was that most of the officers accused of human rights violations by petitioners would not be found.
She wondered if there were deliberate policies by the government to totally end abuses perpetrated by policemen.
“No matter how meagre the amount that you are paying victims for the injustice meted out on them, are we letting the criminals who put them in these situations in the first place — the criminals in Police uniform — go with a pat on the back?”
“The Lagos panel said so many of the Police officers that committed these crimes were actually nowhere to be found. The Nigeria Police Force cannot find its own Police officers who got Nigerians in disaster in the first place. Are we making sure that we set systems that ensure that cases of Police brutality will reduce drastically?
“Ever since the last year, can we say and even conduct a survey that cases of brutality have been reduced in the country? My question: are our policymakers focused on ending Police brutality, or are they just setting up panels to whitewash their image and gaslight Nigerian citizenry?” she asked.
The #EndSARS protests were held across the country in October 2020 against the activities of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)’s high-handedness. Young people demanded the reform of the entire Nigerian Police Force.
The demands of the protesters were: the immediate release of all arrested protesters, justice for all deceased victims of Police brutality, appropriate compensation for their families, setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of Police misconduct.
Others included: a psychological evaluation and retaining of all disbanded SARS officers before they could be redeployed and increment of Police salaries so that they were adequately compensated for protecting the lives and property of citizens.
In response to these demands, the National Executive Council (NEC), under the supervision of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with 36 state governors of the federation, constituted judicial panels of enquiries to look into the allegations of Police brutality and to also make recommendations for appropriate actions.
At his meeting last week, NEC explained that the recommendations of the panels were already at various stages of implementation.
In a statement by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, NEC noted that some of the steps being taken to execute the recommendations of the panels included the setting up of Victims Compensation Funds, from which several victims had received payments of sums awarded to them.