A human right organization in Bauchi, Prison Inmate Development Initiative (PIDI-Nigeria) has in collaboration with Cleen Foundation, urged various judicial commissions of inquiry constituted by governments at various levels to be accountable in their discharge of their duties.
This was contained in a Press statement circulated to journalists by a human right defender, Mr Mbami Iliya Sabka in Bauchi on Friday.
“We wish to recall with keen interest, the recent appointment and inauguration of Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate cases of Police brutality triggered by the #EndSARS protests in some parts of Nigeria as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari to end police brutality, introduce reforms and bring “erring personnel to justice”, the statement said.
It further recalled with delight, the recent appointment and subsequent inauguration of the commission in Bauchi by Governor Bala Mohammed, expressing hope that members of the commission will live above board.
The press statement which noted with regret, recent human rights abuses by the special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS in Bauchi under the control of SP Baba Yola, appealed to the commission to carry out a thorough investigation on the matter.
“Over the years, investigation has shown that police brutality in Bauchi State by Rapid Response Squad, Divisional Police Officer and other Units include beatings, intimidation, extortion and extra judicial killing of suspects”, Mr Sabka alleged.
He said his organization had some time ago written a letter of complaint to the office of the Governor of Bauchi state on the activities of the Rapid Response team of the police in the state.
According to him, the letter complained against SP Baba Yola of the Rapid Response Squad of the Nigeria police force over harassment, intimidation and inhumane treatment meted on petty traders at Awala roundabout of Bauchi state.
The statement said a similar letter was written on 23rd July, 2020 by PIDI to Commissioner of Police, Bauchi against the divisional police officer of township police division in Bauchi for torturing one Ibrahim (Kapala) and Ibrahim Babangida to death.
The press statement further noted that Abdulwahab Bello was subjected to inhuman degrading condition after extorting him.
“On the 8th May, 2020; PIDI-Nigeria Petitioned the Commissioner of Police with title: Re-covid-19, a letter of Demand and Complaint against SP Baba Yola of rapid response squad of the Nigeria police force for Inhumane treatment, extortion, detention of 40 innocent citizens in a single cell with suspected covid-19 patient at Yelwa police division, Bauchi”, the rights groups added.
The statement argued that if truly, the government of Bauchi state is Willing to seek justice for the victims of police brutality, it should mark such Units of the police for investigation.
The two human right organizations appealed to the Bauchi state government to include those Civil Society organizations that have been advocating for police reform in the commission of inquiry for effective implementation and monitoring.