Segun Babatunde in Bauchi
The Bauchi State Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the State Governor,Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed to investigate human rights abuses by the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police has received 10 petitions against the police by the state residents.
Chairman of the panel Justice Habibu Idris Shall (rtd) disclosed this Wednesday during the inaugural siting of the committee held at the Bauchi state high court.
He said the panel of inquiry was formed sequel to the nationwide protests by the youth in parts of the country against alleged brutality by the SARS.
According to him, the mandates of the panel are to receive written or oral evidence of SARS brutality from the victims, determine those responsible, recommend them for prosecution, compensation and measures to be taken by the government to forestall future recurrence of violent protests.
“You would recall that after inauguration, the panel called for the submission of petitions either written or oral, directly by victims or through their counsel.
“The panel has received a total of 10 petitions and shall begin hearing the petitions immediately.” He said.
Justice Habibu assured that the panel would sit on a day to day basis so long as there is a petition to be heard adding that victims are at liberty to present their case personally or be represented by their counsels.
The Panel chairman who called on journalists covering the panel’s sittings to be fair and objective in their reportage,
enjoined them to avoid all forms of sensationalism in the discharge of their duties during the period of event.
In her remarks, the state chief Judge, Justice RabiTalatu Umar commended the state government for constituting the panel saying that it was in line with the directive of the federal government to ensure that justice was done to all the victims of the brutality.
She also assured that her office will give the panel all necessary support to enable it discharge the onerous responsibility assigned to it.
The Attorney – General and Commissioner for Justice Bauchi State, Barrister Bello Kirfi charged the panel members to be fair and objective stressing that they should not be deterred by the onerous task ahead of them.
While saying that though the state did not witness the wanton destruction that followed the violent protests across the country during the #ENDSARS protests, he agreed that there are human rights abuses which he noted, were very minimal.
According to him, considering the number of petitions received by the panel, Bauchi State can be said to be fairly treated by the Police he however, called on the general public to come out if they have any complaints.
Kirfi who assured that the panel will be just to all just as he commended legal practitioners who have agreed to appear freely for petitioners before the panel and urged them to be professionals and ethical in their appearance before the panel.
Bauchi State Police Command in its remarks promised to cooperate with the panel in the discharge of its function to ensure that every information required by the panel will be made available without delay. END