Showing posts with label #EndSARS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #EndSARS. Show all posts

#EndSARS: The Federal Government compensates 74 victims of police abuse with N289 million

74 victims of human rights violations perpetrated by the former Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force have been awarded a total of N289 million in compensation by the Federal Government of Nigeria as part of the #EndSARS campaign (NPF). A presentation of checks to the victims was placed at the headquarters of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Abuja. The chairperson of the board expressed gratitude to those individuals who had filed complaints with the Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations concerning the prohibited SARS and other police units. She thanked them for having faith in the country's human rights mechanisms and for diligently presenting and pursuing their cases in front of the panel. She gave her word to the people of Nigeria that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which is an independent institution, will continue to carry out its duties as outlined in the National Human Rights Commission Act. These duties include promoting and defending human rights across the nation.

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SARS, the once infamous police unit now known as the Rapid Response Squad, and its commander, Ogundola, are terrorising residents of the Ekiti region, according to reliable sources.

CSP Marcus Ogundola, head of the Ekiti State Police Command's Rapid Response Squad (RRS) unit, and unit operators have been charged with illegal executions, arrests, conversion of suspects' property to personal use, and demand of "outrageous bond amounts in return for people's release."

According to SaharaReporters, Ogundola was the leader of the infamous Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force until it was abolished last year after the #EndSARS demonstrations.

SARS was infamous for its violence, extrajudicial executions, and violations of human rights.

On October 11, 2020, Mohammed Adamu, the former Inspector General of Police, announced the disbandment of the police unit in response to widespread outrage against the police unit's crimes.

According to people interviewed by SaharaReporters, the present RRS team is comprised up of former SARS agents.

"They are making a killing in police uniforms by extorting Ekiti State youths in the pretext of pursuing 'Yahoo lads' (Internet fraudsters). CSP Marcus Ogundola, the OC RRS, drives one of the newest Mercedes in town, a GLK to be exact," a resident informed SaharaReporters.

"He made headlines earlier this year during the deadly Omuo-Ekiti bye-election. He was riding in the same car as the criminals that murdered a lady and three others.

"He is an employee of Governor Kayode Fayemi, not of the Nigerian Police Force. He was the former Ekiti State OC SARS prior to the #EndSARS protest. That SARS unit was not abolished in Ekiti since it is comprised of the same individuals who currently compose the new RRS.

"When he was the OC SARS, he had Ogindan, nicknamed White Lion, as his second in command; Deji, aka DJ SARS; One Iku Raymond, Omo Ode; and a policewoman, Catherine as Iya Eji, Chief and Omo Oba. All of these identities and designations were given to his men when SARS was still operational, but guess what? They are now all employed by him in the RRS unit.

"Even the Commissioner of Police is afraid to warn him since he is a close confidant of Fayemi. The same group of men who were infected with SARS are still infected with RRS.

"The commissioner has no authority over him since he escorted him to Fayemi during his first arrival in Ekiti earlier this year. The RRS office has been relocated from police headquarters to the Fountain hotel on Iyin Road just to allow Marcus Ogundola to operate as he pleases."

Another resident, in an interview with SaharaReporters, accused the RRS agents of assault, torture, and ill-treatment.

"Today in Ado, fear of RRS is the precursor of wisdom," the insider said.

SaharaReporters previously reported on how RRS operatives pursuing suspected fraudsters, colloquially referred to as Yahoo boys, crushed and killed Assistant Superintendent of Police Ojo Ayeni.

According to reports, the deceased, who was assigned to Odo Ado Police Station, died on the scene.

"He returned home to eat; his wife has a business in the polytechnic town near Aba Ebira. Along the road, near the silo, there is this horrible area. Thus, the dead came to his wife's store to dine; he arrived on a motorbike borrowed from one of his buddies. He was employed in Odo Ado, a town not far from here.

"The RRS operatives were pursuing a Benz in two Hilux trucks. I'm not sure where they were pursuing the men from. As they were about to pass the Benz, the dead, widely known as Baba Ada, approached from the other direction and was struck by one of the cars. He passed very instantly," a source informed SaharaReporters.

However, the state police command's spokesman, ASP Sunday Abutu, refuted the claims.

"That is not accurate, and if individuals have proof that RRS agents have been pursuing them unlawfully, they should contact us, come forward, and inform us that they are innocent and RRS is pursuing them," he said.

"What we do know is that RRS agents are on the lookout for cults and other dangerous individuals in the community, and they conduct operations in response to distress calls. They do not just conduct operations, as was the case at Ikole that day. All I know is that criminal elements will be opposed to the squad's existence. Our hotlines are available to anybody who has an accusation against them. They should inform us rather than using social media to make any complaint."

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Victims of police brutality would get N102 million from Delta State.


Following the acceptance of the findings of a judicial panel of inquiry into recorded instances of police brutality in the state, the Delta State government has announced that it would pay a total of N102, 450, 000 to victims of police brutality.
January a statement made only hours before the first anniversary of the #ENDSARS demonstrations that erupted throughout the nation in 2020, the Delta State government announced that a unit of the Nigeria Police called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad will be disbanded effective immediately (SARS).

Chief Patrick Ukah, Secretary to the Delta State Government (SSG), made the announcement at an Asaba press conference. Ukah said that the decision to alleviate the suffering of some of the victims was made after the findings of the judicial panel of inquiry was taken into account.

Asaba and Warri were the sites of public hearings for the judicial panel, which was launched by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in October 2020 after receiving a total of 86 petitions. All parties were represented by full legal counsel throughout the proceedings.

This is to inform all Deltans and residents of the state that the State Government has received and taken into consideration the Report of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, which had been tasked with receiving and investigating complaints of police brutality and related extrajudicial killings in the state.

"It should be noted that the panel was unable to offer recommendations on all of the petitions that were submitted to it since some of these petitions are still pending in different state courts." As a result, making any statements about them would be considered prejudicial. Aside from that, throughout the hearing sessions, the panel rejected several of the petitions for a variety of grounds.

For the most part, the panel was able to demonstrate instances of police brutality that resulted in the deaths of individuals and/or the deprivation of personal liberty, and as a consequence granted monetary compensation to the victims in these instances.

Similarly, the panel affirmed judgments previously issued by High Courts in the state for different instances of police brutality, judgments that have not been followed to this day, including the payment of judgement debts connected with them. "

"After taking into consideration the panel's recommendations in these two types of instances, the state government has agreed to pay the incidental claims suggested for the victims, totalling to N102,450,000.00" (One hundred and two million, four hundred and fifty thousand naira). This payment would be processed as soon as possible."

Amnesty International, in a statement, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to follow through on his commitment to reform the police. The organisation issued the demand in a statement headlined, "Nigeria: One year after the #EndSARS demonstrations, victims of police violence still have not received justice."

In spite of pledges of change, the report said, police impunity had persisted in Nigeria.

"A year on, despite the gravity of these human rights violations, not a single member of the security forces has been prosecuted, and judicial panels of inquiry established to investigate abuses by officers have made little progress," said Ms Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, in a statement.

"President Muhammadu Buhari must follow through on his commitment to reform the police in order to put an end to the reign of impunity against which Nigerians have been protesting for many years. It is yet another evidence that Nigerian authorities lack the political will to hold accountable individuals accused of being involved for the torture and deaths of #EndSARS protestors on October 20, 2020, as well as to stop police brutality."

"Under the pretext of restoring order, horrific injuries were inflicted on hundreds of people, and at least 56 people were killed, including dozens of young people, as Nigerian security forces used unnecessary and excessive force to disperse peaceful protesters across the country," Ojigho continued. "

"It is intolerable that the administration, in the face of overwhelming evidence, continues to deny the deployment of live fire against protestors at the Lekki tollgate, precisely a year after the incident."

Amnesty International said that the investigating panels established to investigate police violence had been plagued so far by lengthy adjournments, intimidation of witnesses by police attorneys, and the failure of police personnel to attend as witnesses in their investigations. It claimed that panels in some jurisdictions failed to convene while panels in other states went on extended hiatuses.

It urged the government to put their words into action and put a stop to police impunity once and for all.

Nigerian Press Freedom Is in Danger of Being Extinguished

Koo, Twitter's Indian competitor, has just started advertising to Nigerians, backed by a strong brand ambassador: President Muhammadu Buhari. The endorsement comes more than two months after Buhari banned Twitter in Nigeria in reaction to the social media firm removing a provocative post from Buhari threatening violence against followers of a southeast separatist movement. The endorsement of certain media businesses is the latest step in the government's continuous campaign to stifle free speech.

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Nigeria's media regulating authority, sent a letter to Nigerian broadcast stations last month directing them to minimize the country's deteriorating security situation, especially the danger posed by Boko Haram and banditry. NBC defended its stance by claiming that reporting on these problems has a propensity to incite more violence. This argument would be plausible if the government had not been gradually eroding free speech rights. For instance, after the #EndSARS demonstrations against police brutality last October, NBC penalized media groups for covering the events.

Nigeria is now rated 120 on the World Press Freedom Index, down five places from its 2020 rating. According to Reporters Without Borders, Nigeria is "one of the most hazardous and challenging nations in West Africa for journalists," and the situation seems to be worse. Following the Twitter suspension, NBC ordered that all social media platforms and internet broadcasting service providers operating in Nigeria apply for broadcast licenses. This was followed by a very contentious modification to the NBC Act aimed at suffocating media companies. These measures have sparked widespread outrage among Nigeria's main media outlets, with each station running front-page advertising advocating against excessive media control in the nation.

Restriction of free expression poses major difficulties for civil society in a political climate where the government has shown a propensity for authoritarian behavior. Inability to report the news freely may result in a scenario in which the government determines what constitutes truth or fiction. This has severe implications, particularly for a nation experiencing its most serious security problems since the 1967 Civil War.

For over a decade, Nigeria's North East area has been the scene of an insurgency that has claimed over 40,000 lives and displaced over two million. The area continues to bear the brunt of this conflict's devastation, especially among women, children, and other vulnerable populations. Meanwhile, the country's North West area is plagued by banditry: over 2,000 individuals have been kidnapped since January, including hundreds of school children. Continuous reporting on these conflicts informs people about their intensity and effect on Nigerians. With this knowledge, citizens may continue to put pressure on their government to handle insecurity more effectively. Reduced reporting on crisis situations in the country effectively silences millions of victims who would otherwise have no voice at the national level and trivializes their sufferings for the sake of avoiding embarrassment for the administration.

The incapacity of the Buhari government to control the country's insecurity is deteriorating. Self-determination demands are increasing in the South West, while the South East is on the brink of an insurrection headed by advocates of a revived Biafran separatist movement. Suppression of Nigerian media seems to be a desperate effort to keep Nigerians unaware of how little progress the administration has made toward curbing insecurity.

If the government succeeds in its current assault on journalistic freedom, there is no reason to believe it will be the last. With general elections approaching in two years, rules and restrictions restricting the media may make it more difficult to report on voting irregularities—particularly if they are committed by the governing party. According to others, the increased emphasis on limiting free expression is part of the governing party's strategy to consolidate power ahead of the 2018 elections.

Many allies of the government have warned that incorrect reporting of conflict news—whether on social or mainstream media—could aggravate the country's profound divides, prompting citizens to take law into their own hands. While this is a possible danger, the nation currently has regulations in place to handle it and penalize violators. For instance, the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, and Punishment) Act (2015) tackles risks to cyberspaces, including internet use and security, with the goal of preventing and fighting cybercrime. Additionally, the Defamatory and Offensive Publications Act (1966) criminalizes defamation. The government's priority should be to execute these laws rather than to continue eroding journalistic freedom.

President Buhari said in his 2015 inaugural address that democracy is the preferred path to national development and vowed to "actively work the democratic system." A democratic government's responsibility is to protect free expression and ensure basic liberties. It is critical that the government tries to meet these obligations.

Nigerian Medical Student Flees from Class after Finding out Corpse for Practical was that of an Old Friend

For medical students at Nigerian institutions, dealing with corpses in anatomy class is an unavoidable reality, but what Mr. Egbe saw shook him to his core. Enya Egbe, a medical student at the University of Calabar in Cross River, found that the corpse given to him for his anatomy class practical was really that of a friend.

Following his discovery, the 26-year-old instantly went to his heels in sobs. According to Egbe, he and his buddy Divine had known each other for more than seven years had clubbed together. Egbe finally informed Divine's relatives, who had come to collect their relative's corpse. It came out that they had been visiting several police stations in search of Divine, who had been detained on his way home after a night out by security agents. Divine's torso was pierced on the right side of his chest by two bullets.

According to the BBC, Egbe's finding is an example of the harsh reality that Nigerian medical students confront. Apart from a scarcity of corpses for medical students' practicals, medical institutions have developed a reputation for discarding unclaimed remains. This is because Nigerian legislation now provides medical schools with unclaimed corpses in government mortuaries.

According to stories revealed as a result of the numerous judicial panels of inquiry established in the aftermath of the #EndSARS demonstrations to investigate instances of police brutality, some of these corpses are victims of police brutality. In their defense, the police claimed that some of these missing individuals' are armed robbers who were shot and killed during a gunshot exchange with police officers.

In Anambra, three people were killed as they clashed with the police.

  Over the weekend, the situation in the Aguleri village, which is located in the Anambra East Local Government Area of the state of Anambra...