Kwara State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into #EndSARS protest on Monday began sitting in Ilorin, the state capital, with 18 petitions submitted by various victims of alleged police brutality to the panel.
At the inaugural sitting, the chairman of the Panel, Retired Justice Babatunde Garba, disclosed that the 18 petitions received so far have been forwarded to Police while the Police have responded to four.
“Letters were sent out to professional and non governmental organisations including religious bodies for their sensitisation and likely contributions for attainment of justice and peace in our society. The print and electronic media were not left out in our patronage for public awareness and sensitisation,” the chairman said.
“These efforts of the panel no doubt yielded result with a total number of 18 petitions submitted by various victims of alleged police brutality. However, on receipt of these petitions, we forwarded same to the commissioner of Police Kwara State Command and there has been positive response to some of the petitions. It is hoped that, as we make progress into hearing of the petitions, the remaining petitions will be responded to by the Police and or the affected officers.”
Justice Garba sought the cooperation of all stakeholders for the success of the exercise.
For his part, the Chairman Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ilorin branch, Abdulganiy Bello, assured the panel of free legal representation and services for victims of alleged Police brutality, victimisation and human rights abuses.
“On our part, we welcome the panel of inquiry as inaugurated by the Kwara State Governor and with the calibre of people serving in the panel we are well assured that the results that will be turned out will assist in blocking the kind of phenomenon that led to the constitution of the panel,” Bello said.
Meanwhile, most of the cases mentioned before the panel at the Monday sitting were adjourned for further hearing and consideration.
A petition on the violation of fundamental human rights filed by Deacon Samuel Bankole and failure to pay N50m judgment sum against the Kwara State Police Command and Edo State Police Command since 2016 was adjourned to Wednesday 25th November, 2020.
Two ex-Police detectives Akano Shola and Babatunde Glorious, who were among those who forwarded petitions to the panel, jointly opted to change their lawyer.
The case of the former Police officers was adjourned till November 19 for hearing of their petition against the Police Authority.
However, there was a mild drama when a petitioner, Oba Jawando, alleged threat to his life and that of his counsel by the police and requested that his petition be addressed immediately.
The Police counsel, DSP Adekunle Iwaloye, objected to the allegations which he believed were an attempt to dent the image of the police, and prayed that the claims be thoroughly investigated by the panel.
Proper hearing of petitions begins on Wednesday.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has on the 20th October, 2020 constituted the panel to receive and investigate complaints of brutality, extra-judicial killings and other human rights abuses against the Police in Kwara State.