Human RightsNews

Commission Awards N575 Million Compensation To Police Brutality Victims

Twenty Nigerians who filed petitions against the police over human rights abuses have been awarded compensation to the tune of N575 million.

The inquiry panel set up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate police brutality and alleged human rights abuses in Nigeria has awarded a fine of N575.8 million against the Police.

Fatimah Mohammed, NHRC Deputy Director of Public Relations, on Friday, March 19, said all the 20 petitions  addressed on Thursday by the panel were on extrajudicial killing, unlawful arrest, detention, torture, among other issues.

“Others are cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and torture, alleged enforced disappearance, confiscation of property, etc.”

She disclosed that  the panel “agreed that the victims of human rights who got court judgments should be paid.”

“The executive session considered 20 out of the 44 petitions on non-adherence by the police to court judgments awarding compensations to victims of human rights violations, and decisions were made on each of the petitions otherwise known as judgment debts,” Mohammed said.

Hillary Ogbonna, secretary to the panel, said the police would have to make a “commitment to respect court orders while part of the money will be paid from the human rights compensation funds which are expected to be paid for such purposes.

Apart from assisting the victims of human rights violations to get their compensation paid, Ogbonna said “the panel has also taken a decision to order the police authority to issue apologies to some of the petitioners who have apology issuance as part of their compensation.”

The National Human Rights Commission set up the panel in Oct. 2020 to investigate allegations of human rights abuses against the disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS), following the #ENDSARS protests.

Following demands of the protesters, a panel of inquiry was also set up across the 36 states of the federation.

The panel has since begun investigations into allegations of human rights violations and compensations are ongoing.

Last week, Marc Chidibere Nwadi, a petitioner, was awarded N7.5 million by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Restitution and Inquiry set up to investigate cases of police brutality especially involving officers of the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

The petitioner had complained that he spent six years in the prison without trial.

Also in Feb., the  Lagos State Panel  awarded N10 million each as compensation to two petitioners.

Adebayo Abayomi and Hannah Olugbodi, the petitioners collected the first major compensation after recommendation from the  panel since its establishment.

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