A father of one of the victims of police brutality in Delta State has told the judicial panel of inquiry sitting in Asaba that he has not set his eyes on his 33-year-old son, who was whisked away by the police during a raid at Ezenei Avenue, Asaba on August 8, 2019.
The father, Mr Christopher Ukpuru, narrated before the panel that he was at work on the day of incident when neighbours, who witnessed the raid informed him that his son, Mr Councillor Ukpuru, had been arrested by the police.
He said, “I left my place of work immediately to A’ Division Police Station, Asaba, but they refused me access to him, after a police officer confided in me that he was arrested and brought to the station.
“So, I decided to consult a lawyer to help me to see where my son is. Till date, I have not seen my son. Since I gave birth to him, I have never seen him in any criminal activities.”
Earlier, in her inaugural speech, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Celestina Ogisi (retd.), said the panel had a mandate to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra-judicial killings committed within Delta State with a view to ascertaining their validity or otherwise.
We’ll do justice to all petitions – Ekiti panel
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Ekiti State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Allegations of Human Rights Violations, Justice Cornelius Akintayo (retd), said the panel would do justice to all the petitions received.
The chairman, who spoke on Monday in Ado Ekiti during the panel’s inaugural sitting, said, “We shall do justice to all complaints and petitions received by the panel; justice must be done to everybody. It is when we have justice that we can have peace.”
Also, the Ekiti State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olawale Fapohunda, said the nation’s criminal justice system had always placed emphasis on the offenders to the detriment of victims of crime or abuse, adding, “The EndSARS protests have challenged us to reflect on the adequacy of these measures”.
In his remarks, the Police Commissioner, Ekiti State Command, Mr Tunde Mobayo, said the police had the mechanism to punish erring men and officers.
Plateau panel receives three petitions
In a related development, the Plateau State Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate police brutality and other related killings said on Monday that it had received only three petitions sinceit was inaugurated by Governor Simon Lalong two weeks ago.
The Registrar of the Judicial Panel, Mr Mark Mallan, said this after the panel inaugural sitting at the Azi Nyako Youth Centre in Jos on Monday.
Mallan said, “So far, we have received three memoranda. We are expecting that more will be submitted. As it is, we have set November 16, 2020, to start hearing on the petitions and it is then that we will determine the number of days the panel will sit in a week.”
Why Ebonyi panel can’t hold sittings in courts
In Ebonyi, the state judicial panel of inquiry into police brutality, human rights violations or related extrajudicial killings said it would not hold its sittings in courts because such public spaces were already congested for the panel to sit.
It pointed out that sitting in courts would create the imagery of fear and intimidation in the minds of victims.
The Chairman of the panel, Justice Aloy Nwankwo, stated this during its inaugural sitting at the Old Government House, Abakaliki, on Monday.