The Federal Government’s Independent Investigative Panel of Human Rights Violations by Special Anti-Robbery Squad may hold its inaugural sitting on Wednesday, Sunday PUNCH has learnt.
Some members of the panel who took one of our correspondents into confidence said everything required for the commencement of the sitting had been put in place.
“We have already drawn out the procedure and an outline of how we will go about the process,” one of the panel members said.
But when contacted on Friday, the Secretary of the IPP, Mr Hilary Ogbonna, told Sunday PUNCH that the panel would decide the date for its inaugural sitting on Monday.
“By Monday, we should decide the date for the commencement of the sitting; we will let you know once we take the decision,” he said.
Ogbonna on Tuesday confirmed to one of our correspondents that the panel had received 65 petitions relating to alleged rights violation by SARS operatives from different parts of the country.
He however said on Friday that the panel had received more petitions but he could not immediately ascertain the exact number.
The 11-man panel was inaugurated by the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, amid moves by the Federal Government to regain time lost to the delay in acting on the report of the previous Presidential Panel on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad submitted to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), on June 3, 2020.
Our correspondents gathered that failure to address accumulated grievances of citizens concerning the brutal activities of SARS operatives aided the #EndSARS protests across the country.
Ojukwu said the panel would have six months to submit its report just like the state panels of inquiry established to probe into the activities of SARS as directed by the National Executive Council.
He said the NHRC would be part of the state panels of inquiry and monitor their proceedings “with a view to standardising the proceedings, and harmonising reports of all the panels at state and federal levels and submitting report with recommendations to the Federal Government for action.”