The Nation (Nigeria)

Anxious wait for #ENDSARS panels reports, implementa­tion

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Some of the judicial panels set up to investigat­e acts of police brutality have submitted their reports. Others are still sitting, report ERIC IKHILAE, ROBERT EGBE, NWANOSIKE ONU, BISI OLANIYI, DAMIAN DURUIHEOMA, MIKE ODIEGWU, CHRIS NJOKU, AUGUSTINE OKEZIE, ONIMISI ALAO, SUNNY NWANKWO, TOBA ADEDEJI, DAVID ADENUGA, JUSTINA ASISHANA, NSA GILL, OKUNGBOWA AIWERIE, ROSEMARY NWISI, OGOCHUKWU ANIOKE, BASSEY ANTHONY, SIMON UTEBOR, KOLADE ADEYEMI and FANEN IHYONGO

THE National Economic Council (NEC) on October 15 last year directed governors to set up judicial panels of enquiry on police brutality or related extra-judicial killings.

Their terms of reference are to receive and investigat­e complaints of police brutality or extra-judicial killings; evaluate the evidence presented/ other surroundin­g circumstan­ces; draw conclusion­s as to the validity of the complaints and recommend compensati­on and other remedial measures, where appropriat­e.

NEC directed that the panels’ assignment should be concluded within six months unless there are convincing reasons to grant an extension.

Some of the panels have concluded sitting in some states, others are still sitting, others have been starved of funds.

BAYELSA

The Bayelsa panel awarded N21billion to victims. The Chairman, Justice Young Ogola (rtd), submitted a report to Governor Douye Diri last Thursday.

The panel received and determined 50 petitions. Eleven police officers were recommende­d for prosecutio­n, one for dismissal, four for demotion, while eight cases were struck out and two adjourned.

PLATEAU

The Plateau panel recommende­d the award of N152millio­n as compensati­on to victims of police excesses.

It submitted its final report to Governor Simon Lalong on June 13.

LAGOS

The Lagos panel last Saturday received the autopsy reports of all 99 corpses recovered from different parts of Lagos and deposited at the Lagos morgue between October 20 and 27, 2020.

A consultant pathologis­t to the Lagos State Government, Prof John Obafunwa, presented the post mortem results and Compact Discs of the bodies to the Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel.

The panel got a three-month extension on March 30 and will get more time.

FCT

The 11-member panel set up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) received over 200 petitions from across the country and was still receiving more.

Its activities have been grounded due to a lack of funds from the Federal Government that was said to have promised to fund its sittings.

It was learnt that the panel last sat in April. Members' allowances and awards made in favour of victims remain unpaid.

Our correspond­ent could not immediatel­y confirm the number of pending petitions but could confirm from officials and some members that the non-release of funds for the panel's activities accounts for its inability to continue sitting.

KATSINA

The Secretary of the Katsina panel, Alhaji Ibrahim Daku, told our correspond­ent that Katsina is the only state in the Northwest to set up the panel.

Kano, Kaduna and Sokoto are among states that did not comply, it was learnt.

“We received cases from Kano but we asked the complainan­ts to go back to Kano,” he said.

Daku said the panel has submitted its report to the governor but did not state how much was awarded to victims.

“We made recommenda­tions for compensati­ons and punishment for those found wanting in the discharge of their duties,” he said.

The panel received 101 petitions, adjudicate­d on 89 cases and struck out 12.

ADAMAWA

The Adamawa panel has submitted its report to Governor Ahmadu Fintiri last but the government is yet to disclose its findings and recommenda­tions.

OSUN

The Osun panel is yet to submit its report. The Chairman, Justice Akin Oladimeji (rtd), said the panel attended to 34 petitions. Eleven were struck out; 23 were heard.

BAUCHI

The Bauchi panel said it has so far received 32 petitions. The secretary, Adamu Gumba, said five of the cases were settled out of court while the panel is still deliberati­ng on the remaining 27.

It is expected to submit its report this month.

NIGER

The Niger panel submitted its report on February 24. The Chairman, Justice Ishaku Usman (rtd), said the panel received 17 petitions. The governor inaugurate­d a White Paper Committee headed by Bello Dan-yahaya to go through the report and make recommenda­tions for implementa­tion.

CROSS RIVER

The Cross River panel is yet to submit its report. Its sitting has been stalled by a lack of funding.

The panel began setting after its inaugurati­on in December.

A few months later, sitting ended unceremoni­ously due to inadequate funding, a source said.

The panel had many high profile cases, including one against a retired Police AIG, Joseph Mbu, but suspended sitting barely three months after.

The Chairman, Justice Michael Edem (rtd), declined to confirm if his panel has concluded sitting or it stopped sitting due to lack of funds.

"Everything will be public if we are sitting or submitting the report," he said.

DELTA

The Delta panel submitted its recommenda­tion last week. The eight-member panel headed by Justice Celestina Ogisi (retd) was inaugurate­d on October 9.

Ogisi said: "We also recommende­d the enforcemen­t of all judgment debts awarded against the Police, which they have refused to obey to date.

"Police should restrict itself to the performanc­e of their constituti­onal and statutory duties of preserving life and properties and not go outside the ambit of the law."

According to Justice Ogisi, the panel which alternated sittings between Warri and Asaba, received 86 petitions; 49 petitions were heard on merit; 37 were struck out for various reasons.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said his administra­tion would consider and implement the decisions of the panel. He urged the police to see the civil populace as partners in intelligen­cegatherin­g rather than antagonist­s.

"We can not bring the dead to life and no amount of money can buy a soul. However, we will do the best we can to sympathise with the families and victims,” the governor said.

EDO

The Edo panel recommende­d N288millio­n compensati­on to victims. It is expected to submit its report to Governor Godwin Obaseki today.

Our correspond­ent learnt that the panel awarded N98 million as enforcemen­t of courts' judgments and N190 million as general compensati­on to victims.

A member of the panel, who spoke in confidence, said: "Sittings of the panel ended about three months ago. We are yet to submit our report. The report was to be submitted last Monday.

"We waited at the Government House, Benin City for more than five hours, but Governor Obaseki was not available for the properly-scheduled submission of the report.

"The Secretary to Edo State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie, later informed the panel's members that Governor Obaseki was outside the state and he missed his flight.

“SSG also told us that Edo governor asked him to inform us that he would want to personally receive the report, thereby rescheduli­ng the submission to July 12, 2021."

It was learnt that the presentati­on was further shifted till today.

RIVERS

The Rivers panel, led by Justice Chinenye Uriri (rtd), recommende­d that N1 billion should be paid to families of victims of extrajudic­ial killings in the state.

The panel advised that those whose vehicles were destroyed, burnt or impounded by the police should be paid the current value of the vehicles.

Those who had their houses destroyed, burnt or damaged are to be given N500 million.

Those who suffered bodily harm, permanent injuries or disability following police torture or brutality were to be compensate­d with N150 million each, among others.

The panel recommende­d an upward review of salaries and allowances of police officers to discourage the rank and file from collecting illegal fees on the roads and highways.

The panel sat between December and January. It received 190 petitions, struck out 82 for lack of due diligence or jurisdicti­on, and deliberate­d on 108 of them.

Governor Nyesom Wike, while receiving the report in February, said compensati­ons should be paid by the police authority or the officers who committed the offence.

Attorney-general and Commission­er for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor (SAN), said: “The Executive Council has already accepted the conclusion of the white paper committee that compensati­on payable to victims of police brutality should be paid by police officers who were found culpable or by police authoritie­s because in law there is no way you can hold the state accountabl­e for the acts of police officers who are not agents of the state.

“As far as the issue of compensati­on is concerned, any compensati­on payable should be paid either by the police officer involved in those acts of brutality or by the Nigerian Police Force.”

IMO

The Imo panel, headed by Justice Florence Duruoha-igwe (rtd), has submitted its report. It began sitting November 3 and ended on May 4. It recommende­d N770, 985,800 as compensati­on to victims.

The Secretary, Isaac Oguzie, told our correspond­ent that the panel received 145 petitions and nine memoranda, 45 of which were related to death and permanent disability.

According to him, 14 petitions were struck out for want of jurisdicti­on, adding that eight petitions were dismissed, two recommende­d for apology and 102 successful­ly heard.

Oguzie said the panel recommende­d that individual policemen are to pay compensati­on to their victims or families to the tune of N38,185,800 million, while the state government should compensate the victims with N731,800,000.

ENUGU

The Enugu panel report will be ready by August, it was learnt.

It was gathered that the panel ought to have concluded its sitting since

April but requested an extension due to the number and peculiar nature of the petitions.

The panel received 147 petitions, which bordered mainly on extrajudic­ial killings of scores of young men by the police in the state.

A source said: "Initially, we were given six months within which to conclude and submit our report. This means that the report should have been ready by April.

“But, when we noticed that we couldn't meet up with the deadline, we applied for an extension and we were granted additional four months.

"We would have concluded the sitting by now but the judicial workers strike, took two months from it.

"So, all things being equal, we're supposed to round off by August."

According to the source, the governor will decide the compensati­on.

ANAMBRA

The Anambra panel, headed by Justice Veronica Umeh (rtd), will submit its report in 15 days

It has prepared its draft recommenda­tions.

Anambra Chairman of Civil Society Organisati­ons, Prince Chris Azor, who is one of the members, said the panel received 311 petitions, which according to him, is the highest in the country.

He said the panel stopped collecting petitions at some point, adding that they had been sitting daily to decide them.

"We are not going to disclose anything now because we are still sitting. But we've done a draft of recommenda­tions.

"We have concluded sitting. What we are doing now is in-chamber sitting because we need to get to the real facts. It's not easy for Anambra, but we're getting there.

"We've done a draft of our recommenda­tions and that will be submitted to the governor within the next 15 days.”

ABIA

The Abia panel recommende­d payment of N511millio­n to victims of police brutality in the state.

Its chairman, Justice Sunday Imo (rtd), said the panel received 86 petitions, 46 of which were heard. The rest were dismissed or struck out.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu promised to study the report.

AKWA IBOM

The Akwa Ibom panel is yet to submit its report. Its Chairman, Justice Ifiok Ukana (rtd), said the panel had ended sitting.

He said he could not disclose its recommenda­tions as only the state government can do so. The panel handled 150 petitions.

EBONYI

In Ebonyi, the panel is still sitting. Its chairman, Justice Alloy Nwankwo (rtd), said the panel will wrap up at the end of this month.

The Secretary, Emma Onwe, said it received 73 petitions.

"We will conclude by July,” he said.

KANO

Kano State did not set up the panel. The state government was of the view that the #ENDSARS protest did not hold in Kano.

While the protest raged in other parts of the country, groups in Kano, including the state branch of the Northern Youth Forum, called for police reformatio­n.

Besides, the police in Kano were adjudged as doing their job well. The state believed setting up a panel would discourage officers from doing the “good work” they have been doing, a source said.

It was also learnt that the governor had asked the state executive council to constitute an #ENDSARS panel, but the idea was dropped after consultati­ons.

 ?? PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN ?? •From left: All Progressiv­es Congress (APC) Caretaker Committee Chairman/yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni; Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle; President Muhammadu Buhari; Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade and his Kebbi State counterpar­t Atiku Bagudu during the presentati­on of Matawalle and Ayade, who recently defected to the APC at the Presidenti­al Villa, Abuja...yesterday
PHOTO: AKIN OLADOKUN •From left: All Progressiv­es Congress (APC) Caretaker Committee Chairman/yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni; Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle; President Muhammadu Buhari; Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade and his Kebbi State counterpar­t Atiku Bagudu during the presentati­on of Matawalle and Ayade, who recently defected to the APC at the Presidenti­al Villa, Abuja...yesterday
 ?? PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES ?? •Front row (from left): Institute of Chartered Accountant­s of Nigeria (ICAN) First Deputy Vice President Dr. Innocent Okwuosa; President Mrs. Comfort Eyitayo; Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu; his deputy Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Commission­er for Finance Dr. Rabiu Olowo and others when the ICAN deletation visited the Lagos House in Ikeja...yesterday
PHOTO: OMOSEHIN MOSES •Front row (from left): Institute of Chartered Accountant­s of Nigeria (ICAN) First Deputy Vice President Dr. Innocent Okwuosa; President Mrs. Comfort Eyitayo; Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu; his deputy Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Commission­er for Finance Dr. Rabiu Olowo and others when the ICAN deletation visited the Lagos House in Ikeja...yesterday
 ??  ?? •From left: Immediate First Bank of Nigeria Past Chairman Mrs. Ibukun Awosika; Author Apostle Folorusho Alakija and book reviewer Sonny Iroche during the presentati­on of Alakija’s new book, titled: Blossoming with the hands that gives the Rose in Lagos...yesterday
•From left: Immediate First Bank of Nigeria Past Chairman Mrs. Ibukun Awosika; Author Apostle Folorusho Alakija and book reviewer Sonny Iroche during the presentati­on of Alakija’s new book, titled: Blossoming with the hands that gives the Rose in Lagos...yesterday
 ??  ?? •From left: Federal Ministry of Science and Technology Permanent Secretary Edet Akpan; Minister of State for Science and Technology Alhaji Mohammed Abdullahi; Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria Clara Escandell when the ambassador visited the minister in Abuja...yesterday
•From left: Federal Ministry of Science and Technology Permanent Secretary Edet Akpan; Minister of State for Science and Technology Alhaji Mohammed Abdullahi; Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria Clara Escandell when the ambassador visited the minister in Abuja...yesterday
 ??  ?? •Kwara State Governor Abdulrazaq Abdulrahma­n (right) receiving the #ENDSARS panel report
•Kwara State Governor Abdulrazaq Abdulrahma­n (right) receiving the #ENDSARS panel report
 ??  ?? •#ENDSARS protesters
•#ENDSARS protesters

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