Oyo #EndSARS panel ends public sitting after concluding hearing on 163 petitions


The Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality and other related matters, widely referred to as #EndSARS panel, concluded its public sittings on Tuesday.

A press statement by the state government said the panel heard 163 cases brought before it.

The chairman of the panel, Bolajoko Adeniji, a former Chief Judge of the state, said after Tuesday’s sitting that the panel heard 163 petitions during its 63 sittings spanning over six months.

She added that the panel would then begin the process of reviewing each petition through technical meetings and deliberations, which would lead to the final report to be submitted to the state government for implementation.

The sittings held at the House of Chiefs, House of Assembly Complex, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

Ms Adeniji appreciated the governor of the state for appointing men and women of integrity, probity and honest disposition to serve on the panel.

She equally appreciated the Secretary to the State Government, Olubami Adeosun, the Ministry of Justice, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and the police legal team, among others, for different roles played while the sittings lasted.

She said: “It should be recalled that there were protests nationwide against Police brutality tagged #EndSARS sometime in October 2020.
“The youths saw the protest as a means of expressing their bitter experiences at the hands of the Nigerian Police Force.

“The #EndSARS protesters presented what was termed 5 for 5 demands to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“Consequent upon the above, the Federal Government directed that all state governments should set up a judicial panel of inquiry to look into petitions submitted by alleged victims of police brutality, victimisation and unlawful killings in the various states.

“Consequent upon the directive of the Federal Government, His Excellency, the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. ‘Seyi Makinde, set up a 10-man Committee to form the judicial panel of inquiry in Oyo State.”

Background

Ms Adeniji said the panel was inaugurated in November 2020, to receive and investigate police brutality on the latest extrajudicial killings; to evaluate evidence presented or/and other surrounding circumstances and draw conclusions as to the validity of the complaints; recommend compensation and other remedial measures where appropriate.

The panel’s inaugural meeting held on Wednesday, November 22, 2020, at the conference room of the Ministry of Justice.

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The purpose of this meeting was to set out the modus operandi of the panel and all other relevant logistics, Ms Adeniji said.

She added that further meetings held on December 23, 2020; January 11, 2021 and January 19, 2021 respectively at the same venue.

“The first sitting of the panel came up on January 26, 2021 at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan, having received 163 petitions.

“The petitions have been completed as of today, Tuesday July 13, 2021 to the glory of God.

“The work has been very strenuous and tasking but the panel members and all the stakeholders that are the petitioners, witnesses, Police legal representatives, counsel, especially the pro-bono lawyers, news media men were all up to the task.
“The Panel’s report will be submitted to the relevant authority in due course,” the panel chairperson added.

Both the federal and state governments had agreed to set up the panels of inquiry following the October 2020 nationwide protest against police brutality.

The protest tagged #EndSARS denounced the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) notorious for the inhuman activities of its operatives.

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