The Edo State chapter of the Nigeria Bar Association and the International Federation of Women Lawyers, (FIDA) Edo State chapter, yesterday, pledged their support to render pro-bono services to victims of police brutality in the state, just as the chairman of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry assured them of thoroughness, fairness and speedy delivery of justice to all.
The two bodies gave their pledges at the inaugural sitting of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the state government to investigate and give recommendations on how to compensate victims of police brutality in the state.
The NBA chairman, Pius Oiwoh, said they have been given a matching order by the national president of the association to render free legal services to victims of police brutality who might not be able to hire the services of a legal practitioner to adjudicate on their matters if need be.
Oiwoh said besides rendering pro-bono services to them, they have also been asked to be part of the observers of the proceedings.
He commended the state government for setting up the committee, pointing that it was the right step in the right direction.
He said the NBA has absolute confidence on the calibres of persons that have constituted the panel, given their pedigrees in the legal profession, adding that they are poised to assist and ensure that the panel succeeds in their mandates.
Also, the International Federation of Women Lawyers, (FIDA), Edo State chapter, represented by its Public Relations Officer, Florence Okundaye, said they would never hesitate to give free legal services to the victims of police brutality in the state and to endeavour that justice is delivered to them.
Earlier, the chairman of the 20-man panel, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe (rtd), advised all persons who were victims to come forward with their petitions and concrete evidences with verifiable phone numbers and addresses.
She said the panel would perform its duty under the terms of reference which include to receive and investigate complaints of brutality by security agents, human rights violation or related extra judicial killings in Edo State.
She said the panel would also recommend measures of compensation, as well as suggest to Edo State government on how to ensure that security agents no longer abuse the rights of citizens.
She added that the panel is also charged to ascertain the officers responsible for the abuse of victims, and recommend their prosecution were applicable.
According to the chairman, the proceedings would be opened between 10am and 4pm to every member of the public, urged all victims to submit their petitions on or before November 29, 2020.
“Physical submission of petitions or oral lodging of complaints shall be at the civic center between Block C and Block D, new secretariat complex opposite EFCC office, Benin City, Edo State every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,” she said, promising that the panel would be thorough, fair and ready to do justice to all irrespective of who is involved.
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