The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Tuesday, received the report of the 28-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry constituted to investigate police brutality, human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings by the disbanded police unit, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the state.
Receiving the report from the Chairman of the Panel, Hon. Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe, at the Government House, Benin City, the governor hailed the committee members for their commitment, courage and diligence.
Obaseki assured that the government will carefully review the report of the panel and ensure that its recommendations are implemented.
“At this point, we just received the report as a government and will go through the report with great diligence. We will look at each and every recommendation made and where clarifications are needed, the panel will be contacted,” he said.
According to him, “This is a nationwide activity and in our last National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, it was decided that all States should submit their report on the investigations carried out during the #EndSARS protests. We expect that we have both the national response and Edo’s specific response on the destruction experienced during last year’s #EndSARS protest.”
Obaseki further advised that to forestall a recurrence of the #EndSARS protest in the country, political leaders should listen to the yearning of the people, knowing that the people gave them the political mandate through the ballot.
The governor noted: “The #EndSARS demonstrations of last year are a pointer to the fundamental injustices in our society and all of us particularly our political leaders in this country must begin to understand that if we don’t listen to the yearnings of our people more, and continue to carry on as if we are in power for ourselves, the #EndSARS protests that we experienced last year will be a joke; we pray that the situation doesn’t reoccur.”
“In Edo State, we will continue to enforce the rights of our citizens, and ensure that we focus on our young ones, making sure that they are our priority. We will study this report and ensure that we implement the findings to the latter,” Obaseki reassured.
Earlier, the chairperson of the panel thanked the governor for the opportunity to serve the people of Edo State.
The chairperson said the panel received a total of 170 petitions and struck out 25 for lack of diligence, while 10 others were dismissed for lacking in merit, with 135 petitions which were considered to be meritorious.
“10 petitions out of 135 sought the enforcement of judgment of various High Courts against the police for acts of brutality and extrajudicial killings. We recommended the payment of compensations to the victims and/or their families for the aforementioned acts of the police,” she noted.