Nine months after inauguration, the Edo State Judicial Panel of inquiry on Tuesday presented the report on #EndSARS protest to governor Godwin Obaseki of the state.
Recall that following the activities of the proscribed Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the #EndSARS protests that led to the destruction of property, the state government constituted a panel of inquiry on October 26, 2020.
Presenting the report to the governor in Benin City, chairman of the panel, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe, said 135 petitions were considered to receive awards pending the approval of the governor.
The panel, However, did not recommend any amount in monetary term as compensation for victims of police brutality.
“In the course of our proceedings, a total number of one hundred and seventy (170) petitions were filed. Twenty five (25) of same were struck out for lack of diligence. Ten(10) were dismissed for lacking in merit.
“Having struck out 25 petitions, dismissed 10 for lacking in diligence and merit respectively, the panel was left with 135 petitions which we have considered to be meritorious,” she said.
While recommending payment of compensations to the victims, the chairman said 10 of the 135 petitions sought the enforcement of judgements of various high courts against the police for acts of brutality and extrajudicial killings.
“We recommended the payment of compensations to the victims and/or their families for the aforementioned acts of the police. We further recommended the enforcement of all the judgements in debts as granted by the courts which have not been complied with by the police till date.
“Further still, we bring to your Excellency’s kind attention the cases of the following petitioners: Ohimai Asekhame and Miracle Aihenlenokhoria. They were hit by stray and identifiable bullets respectively which resulted to amputation limbs. We invite and appeal most passionately to your excellency to consider their plight in terms of possible employment,” the chairman said.
Receiving the report, Governor Godwin Obaseki, expressed gratitude to the chairman and the members for their diligence to get to the truth of the matter.
He said: “I also want to appreciate the members of security agencies who were part of the panel. I can understand the pressures and tensions that would have existed in the deliberations and hearings in the last nine months.
“At this point, we have just received the report as government. We need to be able to go through the report with great diligence. I can assure you that we will look at each and every recommendations you have made.”
If we have any clarifications to seek, we will call you. Fortunately, this is a nationwide activity, and in our last National Economic Council meeting, it was decided that all states should submit their report on the investigation that were carried.
“So, we expect that we have both the national comprehensive response and Edo response to the unfortunate incidence that led to the destructions.
“On a final note, I want to say that the EndSARS demonstration of last year was a pointer to the fundamental injustices in our society, and that all of us, particularly political leaders in this country, must begin to understand that if we do not listen to the yearnings of our people more; if we continue to carry on as if we are in power for ourselves, we pray that the situation of last year doesn’t occur. And if it does, the EndSARS we experience will be a joke”, he added.