The National Human Rights Commission on Thursday announced the payment of a total of N146 million to 27 victims of police brutalities.
The payment was based on the recommendations of the Independent Investigative Panel on Violations of Human Rights by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad and other Police Units set up by the commission.
The Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Tony Ojukwu (SAN), said that the event was historic as many persons had not believed that Nigerians could get succour.
The Secretary of the #EndSARS Panel, Hilary Ogbonna, after the award of the compensatory money, accused the police of flagrant disregard for Court orders, especially for the release of corpses for burial.
Ojukwu said that by compensating the victims, the NHRC was out to change the narrative of impunity, adding that the commission was ready to provide remedy where the rights of Nigerians were violated.
“Where there is violation, there must be remedy,” Ojukwu said, adding that the NHRC had begun a journey to restore human dignity.
He, however, said that promotion and protection of rights of Nigerians required the cooperation of all including the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary arms of government, civil society organisations and business community.
“We owe it a duty to make sure no one suffers injustice in this country,” Ojukwu said.
The chairman of the nine-man panel, Justice Sulaiman Galadima (retd.), informed that the compensation being paid to the victims and families of victims of rights violation was part of the recommendations of the panel.
The retired Justice of the Supreme Court added that part of the recommendations of the panel was the immediate compensation of victims and families.
While urging the Federal Government to implement the other parts of the report, Justice Galadima called on all state governments that have received the reports of the panel on #EndSARS to immediately implement the recommendations of the panels.
Answering questions from Journalists, Ogbonna said the police have refused to obey orders concerning the release of corpses of victims for burial by family members.
He was answering questions from Abiodun Olutekunbi, lawyer to one of the petitioners, Victoria Agori, whose son, Daniel, was killed by police in controversial circumstances and the fate of his corpse which the Court had ordered to be released for burial.
Ogbonna said, “The panel has about five cases in which it has ordered the release of corpses. We are finding it difficult for the police to obey this order. We have given out orders especially on these cases, but the police are yet to comply. And there are over 140 cases still handing.
“One of the challenges is the failure of the police to obey orders. Even when the IGP said they should comply, some policemen still refuse to comply.
“N146 million is the total amount given, while 20 petitioners were compensated. There were four consolidated petitions, 27 victims but 20 petitions.
“The variation was dependent on the discretion of the panel and its members.”
According to him, the panel could not sit for seven months because there was no activity.
He said that 297 petitions were received from all states and FCT with the highest 123, second is Delta, and third is Lagos
Meanwhile, those who were paid compensations on the recommendations of the panel included the family of a former Minister of State for Finance, Esther Nenadi Usman, for the extrajudicial killing of her Nephew, Miss Anita Akapson (N15 million).
Others are Bello Akubuokwu (N500,000); James Dalis Yokon (N3m); Kingsley Ezara Kalu (N5m); family of a youth corps member killed by the police in Abuja, Angela Linda Igwetu (N10m); Marcus Odianose Ughulu (N1m); Festus Idehen (N15m).
Also compensated were the families of the Apo 6 victims, who got a total of N3m as funeral expenses (N500,00 each); Tochukwu Dunu (N12m); Kenneth Ummuna (N10m); John Temitope Alake (N7m); and Edward Dumisara (N10m).
Others paid varying sums of compensations also included Julius Ogalanya (N5m); Mrs Victoria Agori and her son, late Daniel Agori (N15m); Shaguna Gbenga George (N2.5m); Chukwuemeka Amadi (N2.5m) and Raphael Tersoo Toona and Moses Mfe were paid N3m and N10m respectively.
The panel also award a trust fund compensation of N5 million to 14-year-old Favour Ajibo, who was a police gunshot victim.