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No Sufficient Evidence To Prosecute 33 Indicted SARS Operatives —– AGF

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The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation has said there is not sufficient evidence to prosecute the 33 operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) indicted in last year’s report of a Presidential Investigative Panel.

The AGF’s office has therefore asked the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, to set up “a special investigation team” to conduct “thorough investigation” into the cases.

This is contained in a report of a committee set up by the AGF, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), to review the individual cases recommended for prosecution by the special presidential panel.

Our correspondent on Friday obtained the excerpts of the report from a top police source.

The Presidential Panel led by the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, 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.

The report indicted a total of 35 police operatives in 12 states and the Federal Capital Territory for various rights violations including, extrajudicial killing, death in police custody, unlawful arrest, biased investigation, unlawful intimidation, harassment, criminal assault, torture, cruelty, inhuman and degrading treatment, a threat to life, extortion and confiscation of property, among others.

The report recommended 33 for prosecution, and punishment, including sanctions like reduction in rank and dismissal.

It also recommended that 57 victims be paid about N249m as compensation while the police should tender a public apology to 35.

The NHRC on October 19, 2020, submitted the report to the AGF accompanied with a specific list of those recommended for prosecution.

But after reviewing the panel’s report, the committee set up by the AGF said the report “does not meet prosecutorial needs” as it was said to be lacking in vital exhibits, such as “medical evidence and statements of the suspects”.

It added, “The report of the panel does not meet prosecutorial needs. No proper investigation was concluded in all cases. Admissible evidence such as exhibits, medical evidence, statements of the suspects and witnesses that can be used in court has not been obtained or recorded in the appropriate sheet from the suspects and witnesses by the appropriate investigation team.”

The report expressed concern that the indicted officers “are still in the service and ought to go through the internal police disciplinary measures to avoid prosecuting officers in uniform”.

It listed three actions that “must be taken in earnest” for the AGF office “to be able to successfully implement the panel’s recommendations”.

Among them are that the indicted officers must be made to undergo disciplinary actions and dismissed from service where necessary, while the IGP should set up a special team to further investigate the individual cases.

It 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 a 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.”

Meanwhile, the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata (SAN), said on Wednesday that the recommendations of the panel for the prosecution of indicted SARS operatives would be implemented by the AGF office.

Apata, who represented the AGF at the inaugural sitting of the Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations by members of the disbanded SARS in Abuja, said the AGF and state Attorneys-General, had already scheduled a meeting on how to fashion out the strategy for the prosecution of the cases, most of which he said were state offences.

He said, “The coming weeks will be full of activities. The Attorney-General of the Federation will be meeting with states’ Attorneys-General because some of the offences are state offences.”

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JUST IN: Yoruba Nation Protesters Storm Osogbo [VIDEO]

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Scores of youths under the aegis of Omo Oduduwa United have stormed the streets of Osogbo capital of Osun State to agitate for the Yoruba nation.

The protesters converged on November 27 bridge in the Africa area, Osogbo for the protest.

They marched from the November 27 bridge through Ogo-Oluwa, Aregbe junction, Fakunle, Ola-Iya, and Odi Olowo areas.

The protesters carried placards, banners chanting secession songs, and distributing handbills to people along the streets.

They are heading to Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Old Garage.

The Nation had reported there was heavy security presence in major junctions of Osogbo as men of DSS, Police, JTF, Amotekun and other local operatives were on the ground.

Details shortly….

 

Credit: The Nation

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Restructure Your State Before Calling For Restructuring At Federal Level —- Lawan Knocks Southern Governors

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Ahmad Lawan, Senate President, has cautioned Governors calling for the restructuring of the country.

Lawan, who spoke to State House correspondents on Thursday, said although he was not against those calling for restructuring, elected officials must not be among those advocating such.

According to him, state governors must ensure that they restructured their respective states first before calling for restructuring at the federal level.

He said: “The call for secession or the call for restructuring, many are genuine calls even though I never believe that someone who is calling for secession means well or is a misguided person.

“But I believe that when somebody calls for improving the structure that we have is a genuine call.

“But I want to advice here, I believe that as leaders those of us who were elected must not be at the forefront of calling for this kind of thing because even if you are a governor you are supposed to be working hard in your state to ensure that this restructuring you are calling for at the federal level you have done it in your state as well.

“This is because what you may accuse the federal government of whatever it is, you may also be accused of the same thing in your state.”

“So, we are supposed to ensure that we have a complete and total way of ensuring that our systems at the federal, state, and even local government work for the people and that we allow people to participate in governance so that whoever feels that he has something to offer to make Nigeria better does so freely without any hindrance.’’ NAN quoted him as saying.

Lawan also said Nigerians must come together regardless of their religious, ethnic, or political persuasions to find lasting solutions to the nation’s challenges.

He called on all elected leaders across the three tiers of government to always avoid primordial sentiments capable of creating division and social discontent among Nigerians.

“We should avoid partisanship, we should avoid regionalism. We are all leaders and we are in this together. The solution must come from us regardless of what level of government we are – whether at the federal, state, or even at the local government level,’’ he added.

Lawan, who also frowned at the way the local government system was relegated to the background in the country, noted that for the nation to address its security challenges the local government system must be functional and efficient.

“I want to take this opportunity also to say that we have diminished the local government system. I think we can attribute some of the security issues to the lack of a functional local government system.

“For me, I think the time has come for us to take up the challenge to ensure that the local government system functions. This is in keeping with looking for ways, for means, for solutions to the security challenges that we face. We must never neglect the local government system.

“I believe that this is one system that had worked even though in a different name. When it was Native Authority it was very effective, very efficient.

“So, we must go back to our local government to ensure that the local government continues to be autonomous, continues to be functional in order to complement whatever the States and the Federal Government would be doing.

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Ohanaeze To Sanwo-Olu: Ignore Threat Of Attack On Lagos, Igbo Aren’t Violent People

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Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, has asked Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos governor, to ignore threats of attacks on the state.

On Monday, Hakeem Odumosu, Lagos commissioner of police, said the command is probing threats of attacks by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Oodua Republic agitators.

The groups have, however, denied the allegations.

Speaking at a meeting with Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos government house on Thursday, George Obiozor, Ohanaeze president-general, said the “rumour” is intended to distract the governor from delivering good governance to the people.

Obiozor said Igbo people are not known for acts of violence.

“Today, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, in the company of Igbo elders and leaders in Lagos, are here to pay you (Sanwo-Olu) a solidarity visit and to further reassure you that Ndigbo are not violent in nature, neither are we are known for acts of violence anywhere we live,” Gboyega Akosile, chief press secretary to the governor, quoted Obiozor as saying.

“[On] the constant and periodic dangerous insinuations, rumour, gossip and callous statements that Ndigbo in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland contemplate or instigate violence in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland, we wish to state clearly that anywhere this dangerous rumour or statement is emanating from is aimed to cause division, crises and conflict amongst us.

“We think that this rumour is intended to distract the Lagos State Government from its efforts to provide good governance for all and cause disaffection between Ndigbo who live in Lagos and their host community, which is the second home of several Ndigbo.

“The quick denial of this rumour by members of IPOB and Yoruba groups in Lagos and across the southwest was a source of relief.

“The Igbo nation is renowned for being agents of development, not destruction. Ndigbo are builders and their contributions to the development of Lagos State are evident and exemplary.”

Responding, Sanwo-Olu said his administration will continue to secure the lives and property of residents in the state.

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