The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday, October 18, 2020, announced the terms of reference of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution into abuses by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The disclosure was made by the governor through a series of tweet posts on his official Twitter handle, ahead of the inauguration of the panel on Monday, October 19, 2020.
For the clarification of the general public and in view of the inauguration of The Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution into SARS Abuses happening tomorrow, I want to put out the terms of reference of the panel.
The ToR are essentially the following…
— Babajide Sanwo-Olu (@jidesanwoolu) October 18, 2020
In his clarification to the general public, Sanwo-Olu said the terms of reference for the panel are:
- To listen to and take evidence from all victims or the families of victims of SARS abuse within Lagos State (somewhat akin to what the Truth and Reconciliation Committee did in some countries). This would enable all victims and their families air and vent their grievances.
- Upon determining the compensation payable, the Judicial Panel is to immediately issue a check in favour of the victim or their dependents.
- The Judicial Panel is also to determine the officers (or anyone for that matter) responsible for abusing any victim and to recommend the prosecution of such persons.
- The panel shall also have powers to make recommendations to Government on how to ensure that the police and all security agencies never abuse the rights of citizens again.
- The Panel has the powers to compel and summon witnesses to appear before it. The State Government expects the Panel to use these powers to ensure that all necessary parties appear before the Panel to testify.
In his statement, the governor said, “We identify wholeheartedly with the calls for reforms of the Police. A better run and administered Police force would undoubtedly be to the advantage of the Government and all residents of the state. Our stance is Zero tolerance for police brutality. The setting up of the Judicial Panel is a very important step in the journey to reforming the police.”
While urging all citizens of Lagos to partner with government in this journey, Sanwo-Olu said that they appreciate and recognize the efforts of the youths which have made this necessary change inevitable.
Backstory: Following the agitation of #EndSARS protesters in Lagos, the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, announced the setting up of a Judicial Panel of inquiry and Restitution to investigate cases of brutality and human rights violations committed by operatives of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad in the state.
The panel, which is to be inaugurated on Monday, includes members representing the civil society, the police, human rights activists, the youth, and so on.