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Paucity of fund grounds Taraba panel on police brutality

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Activities of the judicial panel of inquiry on police brutality in Taraba State have been grounded following the government’s alleged inability to fund it.

The panel, whose activities ought to end on May 30, 2021, reportedly could not proceed with petitions before them due to lack of fund.

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When reached, the chairman, Christopher Awubra, claimed that the panel had attended to all the petitions brought before it, adding that it would use the remaining one week to compile its reports.

But The Guardian gathered that poor funding from relevant authorities necessitated the panel’s decisions.

The Guardian had earlier reported how the panel was going cap in hand for funds to complete its assignments, a situation, which reportedly compelled the chairman to use his personal fund to keep the panel going.

Apart from allowances, the government also allegedly starved the panel of stationeries and funds for the summoning of respondents and other expenses throughout its sittings.

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While some states of the federation have started compensating victims, according to sources, the reverse is the case in Taraba, as the hopes of the panel and petitioners on the government to do the needful still hang in the balance.

A petitioner told The Guardian yesterday: “We have been watching and listening to the news on how other state governments have been carrying the panel along by attending to issues that will encourage them to attend to petitions brought before them by victims.”

He beckoned the state government to wade into the matter by attending to the plight of members of the commission, “because if they are not adequately catered for, our chances of being compensated from the inhuman treatments we received from the police and other security agencies would be slim.”

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At press time, the panel had successfully heard 28 of the 34 petitions brought before it.

While 26 of the petitions were against the police, three were against the army, two against the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and one against a vigilante group.

Apart from the NSCDC, which the panel agreed had complied with its activities, others including the army never for once deemed it fit to honour the summons.

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