The Anambra State Investigative Panel of Inquiry into the allegations of Extra Judicial Killings against the Defunct SARS and Police Brutality says it has so far received thirty-three complaints from members of the public.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Veronica Umeh while speaking with newsmen in Awka on Wednesday, revealed that they have received twenty nine hard copies and four e-mails from the public so far.
The 34-member panel inaugurated on the 20th of October, 2020, by Governor Willie Obiano, has as its terms of reference, to receive and investigate the complaints of police brutality relating to torture and high handedness and alleged extrajudicial killings by SARS and Police in Anambra State.
The panel is also expected to evaluate evidences presented and other surrounding circumstances and draw conclusions as to validity of the complaints, recommend appropriate sanctions and proffer solutions as well as recommend compensation and other remedial measures where appropriate to the State Government.
It was given one month from the day of inauguration, to submit its report to the state government.
The Panel Chairman, Justice Umeh while speaking with newsmen today, said the panel has expended about 10 days to allow adequate sensitization of the public on its existence and the need to take full advantage of it to vent their grievances.
“So far, we have received a total of 33 complaints, rising from our intensified awareness campaigns both on the radio and television as well as the local information dissemination systems. As at this morning, we have received 29 hard copies of complaints and 4 emails. And we are expecting more complaints,” she said.
Umeh revealed that by tomorrow, the panel will start taking presentations by the complainants either by themselves or through their legal representatives.
She said although the 30-day duration given the panel is not feasible, they will be professional in their conduct and ensure that minimum time is spent.
“At the inauguration, I made it clear that the 30-day duration given to us to complete our work is not feasible. Nevertheless, we have taken off and we are committed to making the most judicious use of time to deliver on this mandate. This work has a lot to do with investigation and that we must do. I also call on members who are interested parties to recluse themselves from the panel,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Office of the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, has withdrawn its membership of the Anambra State Investigative Panel Of Inquiry Into The Allegations Of Extra Judicial Killings Against Defunct Sars And Police Brutality.
The membership of the office was announced by the State Governor Willie Obiano when he set up the panel earlier last month.
Announcing the withdrawal today at a sitting of the Panel in Awka, the Attorney general of Anambra state and Commissioner for justice, Dr. Uju Nwogu explained that the ministry is a party to the matter at hand and as such, will not be in the committee.
This according to her, is because at the end of the investigation, the report will be brought to her office for recommendations and it will amount to sitting on appeal on a matter one has already deliberated which is against the tenets of the legal profession.