Enugu, Benue judicial panels begin sitting, receive 58 petitions
The Enugu State Panel investigating activities of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS), yesterday, said it has received 30 petitions bordering on abuses, saying it adopted staggered sittings over the lack of a dedicated court.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had inaugurated the eight-man judicial panel of inquiry on October 21, 2020, to investigate complaints arising from members of the public on police brutality. The panel began sitting yesterday at Court 3 of the State High Court.
Chairman of the Panel, Justice Kingsley Ude (rtd.) disclosed that it had so far received 30 petitions at the Enugu Division alone, stressing that the members were yet to ascertain the number of petitions collected by other divisions in the state, adding that the Nsukka, Oji River and other divisions were also receiving petitions.
He said the panel would continue to accept petitions from members of the public until February 2021 and that the committee would be sitting on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays due to the absence of a dedicated court.
Justice Ude also said the panel would list all the cases, their time of hearing and publish them to enable the petitioners to know when to appear before the panel.
A counsel, Jude Ezegwi, suggested that members of the panel should ensure that all the parties that should appear before them are properly served and notices given to those that submitted petitions.
MEANWHILE, the Benue State Judicial Panel of Inquiry has received 28 petitions as it began its inaugural sitting yesterday in Makurdi.
Delivering his inaugural speech, Justice Adam Onum (rtd.), said the panel would sit on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays every week, until it became necessary to increase the number of days, stressing that the committee was given six months within which to complete its assignment.
He pledged that the panel would stick to its terms of reference, which include, receiving and investigating complaints of police brutality, human rights violations, or related extra-judicial killings.
It will evaluate the evidence presented and other surrounding circumstances, draw conclusions as to the validity of the complaints, and recommend compensations and other remedial measures where appropriate, among others.
Onum commended Benue youths for embracing peace during the #EndSARS protests, insisting that the mandate of the panel did not cover the aspect of the army or persons considered to be kidnappers or terrorists.
“We have six months within which we will complete this assignment. We, therefore, crave your indulgence to be brief and concise in your presentations on the respective cases,” he said.