Lagos Judicial panel on Restitution for victims of SARS-related abuses hands out cheques of N11m to two petitioners.
Those who benefitted from government’s gesture are family members of the late Rasheed Olanrewaju Kareem and Adebayo Yinka after finding Officers of the Nigeria Police Force culpable for brutality.
The widow of the late Kareem was given an award of N11m as compensation for the gruesome by policemen killing on October 21, 2020.
The panel found that the police authorities failed to investigate the unjustified shooting of unarmed persons at the Tejuosho and Ara Lile areas of Surulere in Lagos, as well as the extrajudicial killing of the deceased and other persons.
Justice Doris Okuwobi who chairs the panel also recommended that the Nigeria Police Force carries out an “independent investigation into the sporadic and deliberate shooting, in order to confirm who carried out the shooting” and prosecute them accordingly.
In the petition of Yinka Austin Adebayo, the panel awarded him one million naira as compensation for the unlawful arrest, brutality and torture meted on him by police operatives between September 28-30, 2017.
The panel found that the Petitioner’s evidence was strong and uncontroverted by the Police, in addition to the corroboration by the evidence of the second witness, which prove that Mr Austin’s rights were infringed upon unjustifiably, having being cleared by the DPO of the Ojo Police Command in Lagos of committing any crime, yet he was still transferred to the SARS unit at Ikeja.
The panel also frowned at the illegal confiscation of his car.
It recommended the training of police officers, on the need to respect fundamental human rights of citizens, especially on the freedom from molestation, as enshrined by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
The panel urged police officers not to see the use of force as the Hallmark of their profession, and for them to be made accountable for any infractions.
It also called for disciplinary action against the officers including one Sergeant Monday and Sergeant Michael.
To date, the panel has awarded a total of 68.25 million naira out of a 200 million naira fund set up by the Lagos State Government, as compensation to 12 petitioners, while three others didn’t receive any award owing to lack of sufficient evidence in their cases against the Police.