Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, on Wednesday, inaugurated an eight-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality and/or related extra judicial killings in the state.
It would be recalled that Ugwuanyi while addressing the protesting youth last Saturday, disclosed that his administration had set up the panel as part of the measures to address the demands of the protesters.
Inaugurating the panel at the Government House, Enugu, the governor said it was in line with the National Economic Council directive for establishment of state-based Judicial Panels of Inquiry across the country.
“The panel is to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality and/or related extra-judicial killings with a view to delivering justice for all victims of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other Police Units”.
The panel consists of retired Justice Kingsley Ude as Chairman, the founding Director of Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), Prof. Joy Ezeilo and Comrade Osmond Ugwu as members representing the civil society organizations.
Other members of the panel include an retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP Ikechukwu Odokoro; representative of the youth, Charles Ogbu; representative of students, Comrade Stephen Ani, who is the Students Union President, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).
Others are the State Coordinator, National Human Rights Commission, Enugu State, Dr. Valentine Madubuko and Onochie Obuna, representing the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, who serves as secretary of the panel.
Ugwuanyi said, “In the past two weeks, we have been witnesses to the escalating protests against police brutality and related extra-judicial killings, on the streets of major cities in our country, Nigeria, by our young people.
“Our youths have been consistent and resilient in their demand for justice for all victims of these twin vices as well as far-reaching reforms in the Nigerian Police”.
The governor expressed implicit confidence that the members of the panel had the requisite competence, experience and character to deliver on the crucial mandate.
He appealed to all residents in the state to remain law abiding and go about their normal businesses urging the youths to have faith in this process and remain calm as the outcome will certainly soothe our pain.
“We reiterate our faith in the Nigeria project and our commitment to a united and prosperous Nigeria that holds hope, justice, freedom and equal opportunities for every Nigerian, especially the youth, irrespective of religious bent or ethnic distinction,” he added.
Responding on behalf of members of the panel, the Chairman, retired Justice Ude, thanked Ugwuanyi for finding them worthy to serve “in this onerous and very important assignment”.
Ude assured him that they would do their best to address the inherent issues to the satisfaction of the public, especially the protesting youth.