Awka – The Anambra State Government has been asked to immediately provide the State’s 32-Member Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality with necessary logistics to complete its assignments.
The Executive Director, Human Rights, Liberty Access and Peace Defenders’Foundation (HURIDE), Dede Uzor made the call in a chat with TNC correspondent in Awka on Wednesday.
The panel, set up by the State Government in compliance with the directive of National Economic Council on October 15, 2020, was inaugurated on 20th October 24 with retired Justice Veronica Ngozi Umeh as chairman and Dr. (Mrs.), Rita Onyeka as the Secretary.
As of Thursday, December 3, 2020, the penal had received 264 petitions and has attended to only 38 Petitions.
About 10 petitions have been concluded, while some were dismissed because they were either already in courts or connected with military brutality which the penal lack jurisdiction to handle.
However, since it went on vacation during Christmas, the Panel has yet to sit for once, raising questions from various quarters as to what has become of it.
Some members of the panel have also expressed frustration because of the inaction.
It will be recalled that Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano had made a #200 million provision in the 2021 budget for compensation of victims of police brutality.
However, the money cannot be dispensed if the panel did not complete its assignment and make recommendations.
The HURIDE Executive Director, Uzor also said there is need for Government to extend the sitting period and days of the panel to allow them complete the hearing as well as do a thorough job.
HURIDE said the extension has become necessary following the huge number of outstanding petitions which the panel received and were yet to be attended to.
“We demand the immediate payment of the panelists’ allowances, increase of their sitting allowances, provisions of adequate security for the panelists as these will not only ease their work but ensure impartial recommendation by the panelists,” said HURIDE.
He continued; “As at their last sitting on December 10 2020 , the panel has additional over 300 outstanding petitions, the highest in the country.
“This is why we call on Governor Obiano to fulfil his promises to the panelists by releasing funds to enable them tackle some logistic challenges.”