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Cross River judicial panel on police brutality begins sitting, gets 39 cases

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The Cross River State Judicial Panel on Police brutality and restitution received 39 cases for consideration as it resumed sitting yesterday in Calabar, the state capital.

Headed by a former Chief Judge of the state High Court, Justice Micheal Edem, the seven-man panel, which was inaugurated on October 19, 2020, disclosed that it would begin hearing cases from November 13 after confirmation of the defendants and who would take responsibility for issues of compensation.

At the inaugural sitting, the panel said it had to confirm whether the Nigeria Police Force or the Cross River State Government would be the defendant in cases brought before it.

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The ceremony, which held at the conference room of the state Ministry of Justice, attracted lawyers, human rights activists and victims of police brutality, who had filed petitions before the panel.

Justice Edem said: “We are here for a purpose and that purpose is to restore sanity in the society. As complainants, get your facts and statistics correct, because when you mislead the panel, you may be charged for contempt.”

He, however, assured that justice would be done, as the panel was inaugurated as an instrument to settle scores between government and the people, saying as part of the rules, testifiers would have 10 minutes to testify in the 39 petitions so far submitted.

Also speaking, Mba Ukweni (SAN), charged the panel to do a good job and look for a way to ensure that police brutality was eradicated, while James Ibor, said there was the need for the panel to accept petitions of brutality against the military, while performing police duties.
The sitting was adjourned to November 13, 2020 to enable the parties to address identified lapses.

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