…apologises for violation of victims’ human rights
The federal government has paid a total sum of N289,384,09 million as compensation to 74 victims of police brutality.
The symbolic presentation of cheques to the various beneficiaries and victims was done at the Headquarters of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Abuja on Wednesday.
Speaking at the event, the chairperson of the governing board of the commission, Dr Salamatu Suleiman, said a total of N431,88,094 million had, before now, been paid to 94 victims whose rights were violated by the defunct Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police under the #EndSARS panel.
She thanked those who filed petitions to the independent investigative panel on human rights violations against SARS and other units of the Nigerian Police for their belief in the human rights mechanisms of Nigeria and for diligently presenting and pursuing their cases before the panel.
Dr. Suleiman also gave the assurance that the commission, as an independent institution, will continue to exercise its mandate of promoting and protecting human rights in the country, using various constituted mechanisms under the NHRC Act (as amended).
Earlier in his speech, the executive secretary of the commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu (SAN), described the occasion as very significant in many respects.
He said the award, which he described as symbolic, is a way of government apologising for the violation of the victims’ rights, noting that the victims cannot be adequately compensated compared to the level of their rights that were violated.
“In the history of past governments in the country, the present administration has elevated human rights fight to the level of compensation for those whose rights were violated,” Ojukwu said.
“Last December, some persons whose cases of rights violation were investigated had over N146 million approved for their compensation and today, another compensation will be paid to other Nigerians by the panel.
“Amount to be paid will not solve all the problems as lives are lost. In any case, the payment is symbolic to show that we acknowledge the violation of your right and that we are saying sorry by the payment.
“It is a clear indication that we should not take law into our hands. The course of justice might be slow, but it will surely get to the destination.”
Giving a breakdown of the disbursement, secretary of the panel, Hilary Ogbonna, said 25 were victims of extrajudicial killings, four victims were compensated for enforced disappearance, 25 were victims of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, 16 were victims of Illegal arrest and prolonged detention by the police, and four were victims of confiscations of properties.
He said 58 victims got their demo cheques at the event while arrangements were ongoing to reach the families of those who are dead.
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