By Ikhili Ebalu , Benin City
The Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by Governor Godwin Obaseki to look into cases of police brutality, human rights violations or allegations of extra-judicial killings by operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Edo State on Tuesday said it has received nine petitions from the public.
Chairman of the 22-man panel, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe (Rtd), while addressing journalists in Benin City, assured that they would carefully investigate all complaints and petitions brought before it.
Ehigiamusoe said the panel would commence sitting on Thursday, November 5, 2020.
She said the panel’s terms of reference include to “receive and investigate complaints of brutality by security agents, human rights violations or related extra judicial killings in the state; evaluate evidence presented and other surrounding circumstances and draw conclusion as to the validity of the complaints; recommend compensation and other remedial measures where applicable and ascertain the officers responsible for the abuse of victims and recommend their prosecution were applicable.”
The Panel chair assured that the panel would make recommendations to the Edo government on how to ensure security agents no longer abuse the rights of citizens.
She appealed to victims to submit verifiable evidence that could enable the panel to carry out its duty diligently.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association, Edo State Chapter, Mr. Pius Oiwoh, commended Governor Obaseki for inaugurating the panel, adding that he has confidence in the panel based on its composition.
Oiwoh said that the chairman of the panel has distinguished herself during her time in office, saying that the Benin NBA would partner as observers and play a pro bono role in assisting the panel.