OrderPaperToday – Disabled persons have demanded inclusion in the panel of inquiries investigating series of atrocities committed by operatives of the defunct Special anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.

The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) made the demand on behalf of disabled persons in a statement signed by David O. Anyaele, its Executive Director, on Monday.

A fallout from the #EndSARS nationwide demonstrations against police brutality against innocent Nigerians was the creation of panel inquires in the states of the country as directed by the National Economic Council (NEC).

The panels have swung into action in many states after constitution and inauguration by governors.

Accordingly, disabled persons have demanded inclusion in the panels.

disabled persons seek inclusion in #endSARS inquiries
Persons with disabilities

Mr. Anyaele in the statement pointed out that in all the panels so far constituted, disabled persons have been excluded, even though according to him, a lot of people were rendered disabled due to the activities of SARS.

He said: “Recognizing that the operations of SARS has caused untold hardship on so many families who loss their loved ones who is either the breadwinner of the family or is being looked up to after spending so much to give him/her education.

“We are concerned that the population of persons with disabilities has consistently increased as a result of modus operandi of SARS. Unfortunately, many people suffered disability during the protests as a result of excessive use of force by the security operatives. This is most condemnable.

“As laudable as the effort of the states and federal government to inquire on the operations of SARS and its effect on the citizenry, CCD is worried that none of these committees set up has the representatives of persons with disabilities either at the state or federal level, the community of people mostly increased and affected.”

Consequently, he asked that states panel of inquiries on SARS should consider including disabled persons and ensure that venues for sittings are accessible to them in line with the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018.

The President signed the disabled persons bill in January 2019 after many years of delays at the national assembly.

Clearly, the law will be tested by this demand for inclusion in the probe panels.

Also, CCD requested that communication of the panel should be made accessible to persons with disabilities such that “where a person with hearing impairment appear before the panel, a sign language interpreter should be on standby for ease of communication.”

The group stated that if a disabled person wish to testify before the panel, they should not be discriminated against on the basis of disability in line with section 1 of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018.

Lastly, CCD asked members of the panels to ensure persons that suffered disabilities as a result of SARS operations or protests are adequately compensated.

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