President Muhammadu has called on the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force to act within the ambit of the law at times.
The president stated this on Monday during the presentation of the Report of the Presidential Panel on SARS Reform, which was constituted as a result of public outcry and various media reports on allegations of human rights violations perpetrated by officers and men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Speaking, Buhari pointed that reforming and repositioning the Nigeria Police Force to be more effective and efficient in safeguarding lives and properties, apprehending offenders and generally improving internal security in line with existing laws and international best practices has been one of the major policies of his Administration.
“In order to reposition the Nigeria Police Force to effectively carry out its statutory responsibilities, I have taken major steps by increasing the workforce of the Nigeria Police as well as improving the welfare of Police officers, because they put their lives on the front line on a daily basis so that the rest of us may freely go about our business in safety.
“However, in carrying out their statutory responsibilities, the Police must at all times act within the ambit of the law and must not violate the fundamental human rights of Nigerians whom they have sworn to protect.
“Where the rights of Nigerians are violated by Police Officers while discharging their functions, the Government has a responsibility to address the instances of violation in line with its human rights obligations and ensure that such Police Officers are held accountable for their actions,” the president said.
The president said that his Administration decided to set up the Panel and directed the National Human Rights Commission to constitute its membership in order to investigate the various public outcries and media reports alleging human rights violations against citizens by officers of SARS in recognition of our obligations under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and International Human Rights Laws
Expressing his satisfaction with the work of the panel, Buhari thanked them for working hard towards the realization of the Presidential Directive.
“I believe that the Report of the Panel and recommendations contained therein would go a long way in redressing the grievances of the complainants, ensure accountability on the part of the Police Officers in discharging their responsibilities and facilitate the various Police reforms being introduced by this administration.”
He, therefore, assured all Nigerians that his Administration will continue to fulfil its obligations of promoting and protecting human rights of Nigerians, and will give the National Human Rights Commission all the support required to ensure full implementation of the recommendations contained in its Report.
He also said his government will strengthen the operations of the Commission to enhance its effectiveness and capability to resolve cases of human rights violations.