States receive 585 petitions against SARS operatives
Judicial panels of inquiry on police brutality and extrajudicial killings in 13 state governments have received 585 petitions against operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police.
The states are Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Oyo, Cross River, Abia, Plateau, and Ondo.
Others are Osun, Bayelsa, Katsina, Ebonyi, and Gombe.
The judicial panels of inquiry were set up in the various states as part of the demands by the #EndSARS protesters seeking justice for victims of SARS brutality.
In Anambra State, the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality, Extrajudicial Killings, and other Related Matters has received 114 petitions.
The panel chairman, VN Umeh, said any police officer and other persons named in any of the petitions would be invited to testify.
Also, the Akwa Ibom State Judicial Commission on EndSARS Protests said it had received 82 petitions.
The secretary to the panel, Mfon Edemekong, said the panel would begin its daily sitting on Monday, November 16, 2020.
In Edo State, the secretary to the state Judicial Panel of Inquiry, Joyce Ugbodaga, said 57 petitions had been received, adding that cops petitioned against would be summoned.
Fifty petitions have been received by the 11-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry in Oyo State to investigate police brutality, human rights violations, and extrajudicial killings in the state.
Governor Seyi Makinde, who disclosed the figure during the week, urged victims of police brutality to come before the panel to seek redress.
Makinde mentioned that the cases of Isiaka Jimoh, who was shot dead in Ogbomoso on October 10; Ganiyu Moshood; as well as policemen killed by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protests would be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators would be brought to justice.
Also, 54 petitions have been received by the Panel of Inquiry into Police Brutality and Restitution in Cross River State as of Friday.
This was made known on Friday during the sitting of the panel headed by retired Justice Michael Edem.
Likewise, the Abia State Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality, Extrajudicial Killings and Other Related Matters sitting in Umuahia, said it had 44 petitions at hand.
This was disclosed by the secretary of the panel and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Uzoamaka Ikonne.
Meanwhile, the Registrar of the Plateau State Judicial Panel of Inquiry Investigating Police Brutality and Other Related Killings, Mr Mark Mallan, told one of our correspondents on Friday that the panel had received 30 petitions.
Also, the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the Ondo State government to look into extrajudicial activities of men of the state police command said it had received 10 petitions.
The secretary to the panel, Mr Lanre Amuda, said on Friday that the panel would invite indicted policemen.
In Osun State, the Chairman of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, retired Justice Akin Olademeji, said the panel had received five petitions so far.
By Saturday, after the panel’s inaugural sitting, Oladimeji told reporters that more petitions had been received, though he did not disclose the new figure.
“We had only three cases today and none of them was heard because they didn’t give evidence to any of the cases. The lawyers sought adjournments, but in the special circumstances of the application, all the petitions had to be adjourned. So, we adjourned the petitions to other dates. Everyone must be given the opportunity to be heard. If there are special reasons for the cases to be adjourned, they must be adjourned,” he said.
Also, the Bayelsa State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality has received about 20 petitions from members of the public.
The six-man panel, inaugurated by Governor Douye Diri on October 28, is headed by retired Justice Young Ogola.
A member of the panel who spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak on behalf of the panel, said sitting would commence on Wednesday.
Similarly, a member of the Katsina State Judicial Panel of Inquiry who spoke on condition of anonymity said the panel had received no fewer than 100 petitions.
The source said radio announcements would be made during the week with a view to encouraging more aggrieved residents to come and testify before the panel.
A former Chief Judge of Ebonyi State, Justice Aloy Nwankwo, who is the Chairman of the state Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Friday said the panel had received over 15 petitions from members of the public.
In Gombe State, the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions and the Secretary to the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, Abdulsalam Kumo, said the panel had only received three petitions since it was inaugurated.
Meanwhile, in Adamawa State, the secretary to the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, Suleiman Usman, could not immediately provide information on the number of petitions received so far.
The panel, headed by retired Justice Adamu Hobon, called on members of the public to submit their petitions as the panel would begin sitting on November 19.
Similarly, the secretary to the Bauchi State Panel on Police Brutality, Sabiu Gumba, said no petition had been received by the panel as of Friday.
Also, the secretary to the Judicial Panel of Inquiry in Enugu State, Onochiengwu Obuna could not provide the figure of the number of petitions received so far, but said the panel would start sitting on November 16.
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