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The Nigerian Police Force has been ordered to pay a fine amounting to N575.8 million to victims who suffered human rights violations from police officers.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) set up the panel in October 2020 to investigate the human rights abuses allegations made against the police force and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the police.
Announcing the compensation in a statement on Friday, Fatimah Mohammed, deputy director of public affairs in NHRC said the panel led by Suleiman Galadima, a retired judge of the supreme court, considered 20 of the petitions at its executive session on Thursday.
These 20 cases bordered on extrajudicial killing, unlawful arrest, detention, torture, amid other issues.
She said the panel “agreed that the victims of human rights who got court judgments should be paid”.
“The executive session considered 20 out of the 44 petitions on non-adherence by the police of court judgments awarding compensations to victims of human rights violations, and decisions were made on each of the petitions otherwise known as judgment debts,” Mohammed said.
“The petitions on judgment debts of about N575.8million were considered ranging from the award of N200 million to ?120,000 of cases bordering on extra-judicial killing, unlawful arrest and detention.
“Others are cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and torture, alleged enforced disappearance, confiscation of property, etc.”
Similar judgement against the police had been made without the police making the payment; and addressing that, the secretary to the panel, Hillary Ogbonna said the police would have to make a “commitment to respect court orders while part of the money will be paid from the human rights compensation funds which are expected to be paid for such purposes.
“Apart from assisting the victims of human rights violations to get their compensation paid, Ogbonna said the panel has also taken a decision to order the police authority to issue apologies to some of the petitioners who have issuance of apology as part of their compensation”.