Weekly Updates on #EndSARS Judicial Panels of Inquiry – No. 17

Description

The Judicial Panels of Inquiry set up across Nigeria to investigate the excesses of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies have continued sittings in the FCT and these 11 states in the week under review: Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo and Plateau.

The ongoing Judicial Panels of Inquiry provide an opportunity for the Nigerian government at the federal and state levels to meet major yearnings of Nigerians, which is justice for all victims and survivors of police brutality and implementation of the recommendations of the Judicial Panels. The Judicial Panels of Inquiry are a response to the 5 for 5 demands of the #EndSARS Movement for accountability; end impunity for police violence in Nigeria and justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families.

On Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the Ondo State Panel ended its public hearing and officially closed the Panel’s assignment. The Panel is expected to submit its Final Report and recommendations to the state government for implementation.

In the FCT and 18 states, the Judicial Panels of Inquiry have closed submission of petitions, while the Panels in Adamawa, Delta, Edo, Gombe, Niger, Katsina, Kwara, Ondo and Rivers states have concluded sittings/hearings. The Judicial Panels of Inquiry in Niger and Kwara have submitted their recommendations to the government for implementation. The Governor of Kwara State, while receiving the report promised to set up an implementation committee on its recommendations. The reports of the Panels in Adamawa, Delta, Edo, Gombe, Katsina and Rivers states are yet to be submitted to the various state governments for implementation.

On Monday, March 8th, 2021, the Kaduna State Judicial Panel of Inquiry suspended its sitting for 7 days, while the Anambra State Panel resumed sitting on Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 following the suspension of the sittings over unpaid allowances to Panel members. The Chairman of the Panel, Hon. Justice Vero Ngozi Umeh (Rtd.), announced that the Anambra State Government approved 16 (sixteen) additional sittings for the Panel. However, out of 310 cases before the Panel, over 270 are yet to be concluded. The number of approved additional sittings are grossly inadequate compared to the number of petitions yet to be concluded. The Panel is required to thoroughly investigate all the petitions that have been submitted in the interest of fairness and justice.

In Enugu State, the Panel is seeking an extension of the timeframe for the Panel in order to thoroughly investigate all the petitions submitted to the Panel.

Yiaga Africa and EiE Nigeria’s observation of the Panels of Inquiry will continue to provide information to promote transparency and accountability and build citizens’ confidence in the process.

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