Gombe State government has inaugurated an 11-member commission of inquiry to investigate cases of human rights violations and other related extrajudicial acts by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the state.
The commission which has six months to submit its report is chaired by a retired Justice, Sa’ad Mohammed and assisted by a secretary, Abdulsalam Kumo (Acting Director of Public Prosecutions). Caleb Ubale, the special adviser to the governor on legal matters is to serve as counsel to the commission.
Other members of the commission are drawn from the Human Rights Commission of Nigeria, Youth Council of Nigeria, Civil Society Organizations and Students’ Union.
Inaugurating the panel on Saturday in Gombe, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya, said “the members were carefully chosen based on their integrity”. He added that the aim of the commission is to look into allegations of human rights abuses by the dissolved SARS and other police units.
The Governor mandated the Commission to welcome allegations from May 29, 2019, stressing that the timeframe was necessary to “enable us account for actions taken under our leadership for the purpose of finding mistakes and to make amends.”
Yahaya gave the Commission eight terms of reference which included “identify personnel of the disbanded SARS and other police units responsible for violating human rights of any person and recommending appreciate punishments and compensation to victims”, among others.
While urging members of the public to approach the commission with their genuine complaints involving human rights violations, the governor warned that the “exercise should not be used as an avenue to witch-hunt security personnel or settle personal scores.”