The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) has urged Gov. Chukwuma Soludo to implement without further delay report of Justice Veronica Umeh led Anambra State Judicial Panel of Enquiry on Police Brutality and Other Related Matters.
The report was submitted to former Gov. Willie Obiano a few days toward the end of his tenure on Feb. 15, 2021. The panel report was received on behalf of Obiano by then Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwudebelu.
The Chairman of CLO in Anambra, Mr Vincent Ezekwueme, made the call while speaking with newsmen in Enugu on Saturday on the three-year anniversary of the Ending brutality of State Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) nationwide.
Ezekwueme reiterated CLO’s earlier appeal to Gov. Soludo to urgently constitute a Committee to articulate government White Paper on the reports and commence its implementations.
It would be recalled that there were unprecedented and devastating protests across the country over the brutality of SARS across the country that led to the death of many protesters and youths on Oct. 20, 2020.
The Federal Government in her wisdom directed various state governments to constitute a Judicial Panel to look into various SARS abuses, atrocities, killings, injustices and brutalities and proffer adequate compensations for the victims and prosecution of perpetrators.
Ezekwueme said that then Gov. Obiano constituted a 42-member Judicial Panel, made up of men and women of impeccable character and integrity with unblemish Justice Umeh as the Chairman.
“To the glory of God, the panel submitted a comprehensive and well-articulated report that if judiciously and transparently implemented will assuage the pains, agony, sufferings and predicaments of the victims and their families as well as rekindle people’s hope and confidence in government.
‘It is no longer news or new that the state received the highest number of petitions (310 petitions) throughout the country.
“There were high expectations from victims, families, petitioners, Anambrarians and Nigerians on the reports of the panel.
“And how the victims will be compensated and culprits prosecuted in tandem with Federal Government directive and motive behind constituting the panel as well as to forestall future occurrences,” he said.
According to him, the panel recommended six hundred and ninety nine million (N699 million) to the petitioners and dismissed some due to lack of purview of terms of reference for the panel.
He noted that the petitioners, their counsels and Anambrarians had been lamenting that the Anambra Judicial Panel Report merely academic exercise and efforts to douse political tension.
The CLO boss also called for the payment of outstanding allowances of the Chairman and members of the panel to protect both the image, integrity of the government, the panel chairman and members.
“All eyes are on Anambra as without implementations of the Judicial Panel Reports and payment of compensations to the petitioners, the committees report will be useless efforts without effect, petitioners and their counsels’ efforts will as well be fruitless efforts.
“There is no doubt in our minds that patriotic and transparent implementations of the panel report will improve security, protection of human rights, public interest and socioeconomic justice.
“This is the only way and means to ameliorate and assuage the victims, petitioners, and satisfy their legal representatives and citizens,” he added.
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