The Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, following the #EndSARS protest has received nine petitions from the public.
Governor Obaseki had set up the 22-man panel headed by a retired judge, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe, to look into cases of police brutality, human rights violations, and allegations of extra-judicial killings by operatives of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the state.
Justice Ehigiamusoe revealed the number of petitions received so far to journalists on Tuesday in Benin City, the state capital.
She gave an assurance that the panel would carefully investigate all complaints and petitions brought before it, adding that the inaugural sitting would hold on Thursday.
According to the retired judge, the panel’s terms of reference include to receive and investigate complaints of brutality by security agents, human rights violations, or related extrajudicial killings in the state, as well as evaluate the evidence presented and other surrounding circumstances and draw a conclusion as to the validity of the complaints.
She noted that the panel was mandated to recommend compensation and other remedial measures where applicable and ascertain the officers responsible for the abuse of victims and recommend their prosecution were applicable.
Justice Ehigiamusoe stated that the panel would make recommendations to the Edo State government on how to ensure security agents no longer abuse the rights of citizens.
She, therefore, appealed to victims to submit verifiable evidence that could enable the panel to carry out its duty diligently.
On his part, Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Edo, Pius Oiwoh, commended Governor Obaseki for inaugurating the panel.
Noting that he has confidence in the panel based on its composition, Oiwoh believes Justice Ehigiamusoe has distinguished herself during her time in office.
He promised that the NBA in Benin City would partner as observers and play a pro bono role in assisting the panel.
Elsewhere, the state government has adjusted the curfew time to span between 10pm and 6am daily, beginning from Tuesday.
Governor Obaseki’s media adviser, Crusoe Osagie, insisted that the government was committed to the security of lives and property, and was working with security agencies to ensure peace and order is fully restored in the state.