The Human Rights Special Intervention Group (HRSIG) in Kogi said it received six petitions and complaints on human rights violations by the law enforcement agencies.
The Chairman of HRSIG committee in Kogi, Mr Ibrahim Alhassan, said this at a Public Hearing on #EndSARS Protest, Complaints and Petitions on Human Rights Violations and Brutality by Law Enforcement Agencies, held on Tuesday in Lokoja.
The HRSIG committee was constituted by Kogi government through the office of Public Defender and Citizens Rights Commission (PDCRC).
Alhassan noted that the committee had gone round since it was inaugurated to synergise with the media to sensitise the people to submit their petitions on all human rights violations.
He said the committee had received six petitions, which was why the committee called for public hearing to hear those petitions.
“This committee is still open to receiving more complaints on human rights violations, l want aggrieved residents of Kogi to come and submit their petitions. The Public hearing is to allow all petitioners to come forward and present their complaints before the committee, while the law enforcement agencies will also be given the opportunity to give their own side of the story. This is to ensure that preservation of the fundamental rights of residents of the state as enshrined in the Constitution are maintained and sustained”.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Governing Council PDCRC, Mr Muizudeen Abdullahi, said the public hearing was in line with the responsibility of government to preserve the sanctity of human person as provided under Section 17(2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
He explained that in the wake of EndSARS protest in Nigeria, Governor Yahaya Bello, directed Kogi PDCRC to constitute HRSIG, to intervene, investigate and rapidly resolve complaints of brutalities by law enforcement agencies in the state.
He added that the HRSIG consisting of 10 members, was inaugurated on October 15, 2020 and its members were drawn from all relevant agencies based on their track records.
“The inauguration of the special intervention group was in response to the persistent violation of rights of Kogi residents and their inability to easily access justice. It is expedient to state that Kogi State was the first to set up such committee even before the president directed all states to so do”.
According to him, the Kogi government is among the few states that have established an office such as the PDCRC to provide legal aid and other services to residents of the state.
“We seek the cooperation of all parties to enable a successful deliberation and resolution of all petitions presented before the committee. Petitioners are urged to present their complaints without any fear but courteously as they have the protection of the law, the state and the commission. The respondents are also encouraged to participate with all civility so as to see that cases of brutality and violations of rights are absolutely stamped out of the state,” he said.
Other stakeholders at the meeting were: the Police, NSCDC, Kogi VGS, NBA, FIDA, NGOs, among others.
One of the petitioners, who was represented by Elenimobuno and Associates, told the committee that his house was demolished by the disbanded SARS on March 20, 2017, without the order of the court.
The petitioner said his prayer was for him to be compensated for his house that was illegally demolished by the police in Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State.