There’s no sufficient evidence to prosecute 33 Indicted SARS Operatives— The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation of Nigeria
Punch learnt that the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation has said there is no sufficient evidence to prosecute the 33 operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad indicted in last year’s report of a Presidential Investigative Panel.
The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, who led the presidential panel, had between 2018 and 2019 probed complaints of brutal activities of SARS and had submitted its report to the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), on June 3, 2019.
A total of 35 police operatives in 12 states and the Federal Capital TERRITORY has been listed for various rights violations which includes extrajudicial killing, death in police custody, biased investigation, inhuman, unlawful intimidation, harassment, criminal assault, unlawful arrest, torture, cruelty, and degrading treatment, threat to life, extortion and confiscation of property, among others. The report recommended this 33 SARS operatives for prosecution, and punishment, including sanctions like dismissal or maybe, reduction of rank.
The report also suggested that 57 victims will be paid about N249m as compensation while the police should tender public apology to 35 other people.
After reviewing the panel’s report, the committee set up by the AGF said that
“The report of the panel does not meet prosecutorial needs. No proper investigation was concluded in all the cases. Admissible evidence such as exhibits, medical evidence, statements of the suspects and witnesses that can be used in court have not been obtained or recorded in the appropriate sheet from the suspects and witnesses by the appropriate investigation team.”
The report rather showed positive expression and concern that the accused officers
“they are still in the service and ought to go through the internal police disciplinary measures to avoid prosecuting officers in uniform”.
The report also stated, “The indicted officers should be made to undergo disciplinary actions immediately and dismissed where appropriate .
“That the IGP who is well aware of the sensitivity of the matter should be advised to set up a special investigation team to conduct a thorough investigation into the individual cases.
“That after thorough investigation, the cases that are federal offences or fall within the FCT will be prosecuted by the office of the HAGF while those that are state offences will be transferred to the respective states for prosecution.”