#EndSARS victims in Akwa Ibom accuse government of failure to pay compensation
Petitioners at the Akwa Ibom State judicial panel of enquiry on police brutality have alleged that the state government had refused to pay them compensation.
A petitioner and an indigene of Urueffong Oruko Council, who spoke with journalists yesterday in Uyo, complained of how her hope of getting compensation was dashed after narrating how police officers invaded her residence and shot her on the leg.
The petitioner, who simply identified herself as Mary, said she was still limping due to lack of funds to get proper medical treatment at the hospital, noting that she had already spent all she had treating the leg in a traditional healing centre.
Another petitioner, who pleaded anonymity, said he travelled from afar to Akwa Ibom to confirm if the state had commenced payment of compensation as the Federal Government earlier recommended.
“I have presented my complaint before the panel and so, I don’t want to say it again for obvious reasons. But I am worried that the Akwa Ibom State government has not commenced the payment of compensation to victims. It is high time the panel did something about it because other states have started.
The Guardian recalled that the National Economic Council (NEC) had on October 14, 2020, urged states to establish victims support fund through which they would be paid to assuage their plight upon determination of the authenticity of their cases.
Also, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had insisted that the 2021 budget would not be passed unless the victims’ support fund was captured therein.
A former Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State, Victor Iyanam, said the state government ought to have established the support fund as soon as it set up the committee, adding that he wrote Governor Udom Emmanuel twice on the importance of compensating the victims as the NEC had directed.
Iyanam, who wondered why Governor Emmanuel failed to accede to the demand, said the state Government has all it takes to set up the fund knowing that the Federal Government would refund such money to the states.
Efforts to get reaction from the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Uko Udom (SAN), proved abortive, as he neither answered his phone calls nor replied the text message sent to him.
When contacted, chairman of the panel, Justice Ifiok Ukana (rtd.) said the victims were right to have reacted the way they did, because compensation was part of Federal Government’s terms of reference to the panels and urged them to be patient, as a report would be released to address some of the issues.
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