From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) has demanded the full implementation of reports of the various Judicial Panels on Inquiry set up across the country to probe brutality by the defunct Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS) and other security agencies.
It also backed police reforms, noting that the issue of reforms must be revisited with vigour, while members of the Police Force must be retrained, better funded and made more accountable to the citizens.
The NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje, in a statement titled: “#EndSARS Anniversary: Justice must not be delayed”, to commemorate the massive protests that rocked the country in 2020, restated its belief that the protests were lawful in accordance with the fundamental rights of Nigerians as enshrined in the constitution.
NAS, while commending “the untiring efforts of all the civil society organisations that have diligently monitored the activities of the judicial panels of inquiry, expressed “total disappointment at how shoddily a lot of the states’ judicial panels of inquiry have gone about their sworn duties.”
“This is clearly unacceptable, and only goes to underscore the general contempt with which people in authority at different levels hold Nigerians. It reinforces the widely held opinion that the government did not seize the many learning opportunities from the events of the past one year,” Owoaje said.
He continued: “We demand that the reports of all the Judicial Panels of Inquiry be made public. States that are yet to comply must be made to do so, in order for citizens to seek redress over sundry injustices they have suffered at the hands of the police and other law enforcement agencies.
“We insist on the full implementation of all recommendations, and in cases where applicable, internal discipline and prosecution of culpable officers. Any agent of the state found to have committed acts of illegality must be identified and sanctioned appropriately.
“We expect all citizens who have been victims of brutality from either the police or other law enforcement agents to receive adequate monetary compensation.”
NAS commended states that have set up the Victims Compensation Funds and implored the government to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the #EndSARs protests to serve justice to all those who suffered one form of brutality or the other.