Weekly Updates on #EndSARS Judicial Panels of Inquiry – No. 14

15th February – 22nd February 2021

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 12 states in the week under review – Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Benue, Ekiti, Imo, Kaduna, Lagos, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and Plateau.

In the FCT and 18 states, the Judicial Panels of Inquiry have closed submission of petitions and Panels in Adamawa, Niger, Katsina, Kwara and Rivers States have concluded sittings/hearings and their recommendations are to be submitted to the government for implementation.

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 eventual recommendations of the Judicial Panels.

On February 19, 2021 the Ekiti State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Hon. Olawale Fapohunda stated the readiness of the Ekiti State Government to pay over N7 million compensation to 24 petitioners as recommended by the Ekiti State Judicial Panel of Inquiry. The Attorney General who made this known during a visit to the Panel sitting at Ado Ekiti, expressed the gratitude of the state government to the panel members who are working assiduously on the state government mandate despite some  challenges. Fapohunda stated that the state governor, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi will not wait until the panel submits its final report before processing the implementation of the recommendations.

Similarly, on February 19, 2021, the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters presented a cheque of N10 million each to the family of Mr. Adebayo Abayomi over the murder of his mother who was killed by the bullets fired as a result of indiscriminate shooting by SARS operatives at Railway Line, Mushin and Mrs Hannah Olugbodi whose leg was badly damaged and required further surgeries as a result of indiscriminate shooting by SARS operatives at Ijesha, Lagos. Apart from the monetary award to the victims of SARS abuses, the Panel also made recommendations for the prosecution of the erring SARS operatives as well as regular training for policemen on the handling of firearms in a civilized society.

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