Ekiti panel of inquiry chairman warns police, others against intimidation of petitioners

The chairman of the Ekiti State Judicial Panel of Inquiry investigating the abuse of human rights and brutality by police officers, Justice Cornelius Akintayo (rtd), has sounded a note of warning to police officers, members of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and others against the intimidation and harassment of those who will be submitting petitions before the panel.

Akintayo who spoke during the inaugural sitting of the 12-member panel in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, on Monday, said it is a criminal offence for anyone to go against persons or group of persons who appeared before them on human rights violations and brutality and they would not hesitate to drag before the court anyone found culpable in this regard.

Stakeholders such as Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ),  Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Civil Society Organisation (CSO) and National Council of Women Society ( NCWS) were represented and make presentations during the inaugural sitting.

The chairman explained that the panel would be fair to all parties and be transparent in a bid to ensure justice for all petitioners, saying there cannot be peace in any society devoid of justice and fairness.

He revealed that the panel would be listing petitions received, on Thursday, this week ahead of the commencement of the hearing, saying parties would be invited to appear before the panel with genuine evidence.

According to him, “I want to assure our people in Ekiti that this panel will be transparent and fair to all parties because we need to get justice for the oppressed. We are not stooges for government and they can’t stampede us in taking decisions and in our reports.

“Let me quickly say that it is an offence and a crime in the law to intimidate petitioners, witnesses and those who appear before this panel. Nobody should be intimidated or harassed and we will follow this up because we are here to ensure justice for all. That is the only way we can have peace in society and we want everybody to be satisfied.”

Speaking, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Wale Fapohunda noted that the panel was not put together to place police officers in the state on trial but to seek justice for all those oppressed and bring perpetrators to book.

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“Let me restate for emphasis that the Nigerian Police is not on trial at this panel. Indeed this is not an inquisition into the Nigerian Police as an institution. It will be tragic if all officers of the Nigerian Police are tarred with the same brush. Certainly in Ekiti State, we have had the pleasure of being served by police officers who are professional to the core and who continue to serve the people of Ekiti State with distinction and honour. Our focus is to seek justice and where necessary remedial measures for all of our people who have suffered injustice and violence and hold perpetrators to account,” Fapohunda said.

He noted that the #EndSARS protest had successfully brought to the fold the need for more dialogue between the government and the youths and the need to improve on adequate awareness for people to make use of the available judicial system in the state.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Tunde Mobayo promised the command’s readiness to cooperate with the panel in achieving the desired results within the stipulated time.

Mobayo revealed that the police have an internal mechanism in dealing with erring officers, saying that no fewer than ten officers have been dismissed across the country in the last few weeks and two officers in the state command since he became the Commissioner two months ago over cases of human rights violations.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

 

 

Ekiti panel of inquiry chairman warns police, others against intimidation of petitioners

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