By Ebenezer Ishola
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has released working guidelines for the State’s Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution into SARS Abuses.
This represents a clear demonstration of the states government resolve to ensure that justice is done and restitution paid to proven victims of the Federal Governments now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.
Releasing the guidelines on Sunday ahead of the inauguration of the Panel on Monday, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the release of the guidelines is for the clarification of the general public in view of the inauguration of The Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution into SARS Abuses.
According to the Governor, the Terms of Reference of the Judicial Panel are
*To listen to and take evidence from all victims or families of victims of SARS abuse within Lagos State. And also give them an opportunity to air and vent their grievances in public
*The Judicial Panel after listening to victims or their families would then verify and determine if they are entitled to compensation and in what amount it would be.
*Upon determining the compensation payable, the Judicial Panel is to immediately issue a cheque in favour of the victim or their dependents.
*The Judicial Panel is also to determine and identify the officers (or anyone for that matter) responsible for abusing any victim and recommend the prosecution of such persons.
*The Panel shall also have powers to make recommendations to Government on how to ensure that the rights of citizens are never abused nor trampled upon 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 to testify.
According to the Governor, The Lagos State Government unquestionably identifies with the calls for reforms of the Police.
“A better run and administered Police force would undoubtedly be to the advantage of the State 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. We urge all citizens of our dear State to partner with us in this journey. We appreciate and recognize the efforts of the youths which has made this necessary change inevitable.
“Together, we will #EndPoliceBrutality and Reform the police #ForAGreaterLagos”, Governor Sanwo- Olu said.