The Abuja #EndSARS panel probing allegations of human rights violations committed by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad and other units of the Nigeria Police, on Wednesday, awarded N289 million to 74 victims of gross human rights violations.
The deceased victims’ families and survivors received dummy cheques as a mark of the awards at a ceremony held at the National Human Rights Commission headquarters in Abuja.
Speaking during the ceremony, the commission’s executive secretary, Anthony Ojukwu (SAN), said that the government has acknowledged its mistakes and is ready to assuage the feelings of victims.
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He said, “The ceremony today is to tell you that we have acknowledged the violation of your rights and we are putting this forward in good faith to say we are sorry.
“The amount paid today will not solve all the problems but to ensure that where there is a violation of rights, there must be a remedy.”
The NHRC had in March 2021 set up the federal government’s panel of enquiry on police brutality in Abuja.
The commission also awarded N146 million to 27 families and survivors who were victims of gross rights violations.
The compensations in the judgments, according to the commission, were awarded in cases bordering on extrajudicial killing, unlawful arrest and detention, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and torture, alleged enforced disappearance, confiscation of property, among others.
Speaking with newsmen, one of the beneficiaries, Paul Ephraim, said the compensation is nothing compared to the value of the soul lost but will serve as encouragement for the family.
Ephraim who was awarded N5m narrated that his late brother was on his way back from church when he was murdered by police officers.
He said, “No amount can bring back the soul of our late brother but I believe this can be a form of respite for the family.”
Another beneficiary, Richard Augustine, who was accused of being an armed robber and paraded publicly said that the compensation vindicated his quest to get justice.