On #EndSARS, Delta State sets up judicial panel of enquiry

The panel will receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra–judicial killings in the state.

Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa (Extreme right), Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum (Extreme Left) and Deputy Governor of Cross River, Ivara Esu (middle), during a meeting at the villa [Twitter@PatrickOkowa]

On Thursday, October 15, the National Economic Council (NEC) asked state governors to set up judicial panels of enquiry to investigate cases of police brutality, in the face of the nationwide protests staged by youths across the country.

A statement from the presidency contained the following paragraphs: "The council specifically resolved that state governors and the FCT Minister should take charge of interface and contact with the protesters in their respective domains.

"At a meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and attended by state governors, the judicial panels which would be set up in all the states would include representatives of youths, students, civil society organisations and would be chaired by a respected retired state High Court Judge.

"The council also directed that state governors should immediately establish a state-based special security and human rights committee to be chaired by the governors in their states, to supervise the newly formed police tactical units and all other security agencies located in the state."

A statement signed by the Secretary to the Delta State government, Chiedu Ebie said that the panel, as approved by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, will receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra–judicial killings in the state from victims of the disbanded Special Anti–Robbery Squad (SARS) or any other police unit, with a view to ascertaining their validity.

The statement added that the panel will recommend compensation or other remedies appropriate for each case.

According to the statement, the panel has Justice Celestina Ogisi (retd) as Chairman and Omamuzo Erebe as Secretary.

Other members of the panel are AIG David Igbodo (retd), Harrison Gwamnishu representing the youths, Comrade Godwin Oyovweadjebore representing students, Freedom Atsepoyi and Ambassador Eris Jewo–Ibi representing the civil society groups and Nicholas Osadolor representing the Human Rights Commission.

The statement said that the panel will be inaugurated on Monday, October 19 at the Government House, Asaba.

Nigerian youths protesting police brutality, extra-judicial killings, profiling and extortion at the hands of police officers under the 'End SARS' banner, have blocked major roads in Lagos, the federal capital city of Abuja and in other cities across the nation since October 8, as they press home their demand for wholesale reforms in policing.

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