The Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality in Bayelsa State, set up by Governor Douye Diri in the wake of the #EndSARS protests in the country, began sitting yesterday in Yenagoa.
Its Chairman, Justice Emmanuel Ogola (rtd.), said commencement of sitting was delayed due to paucity of funds, saying the panel had so far received 19 petitions across the state.
He added that it would respect the rule of law while discharging its duty, as all sides would be heard and investigations carried out diligently.
“The panel shall, however, not tolerate long adjournments, as we have limited time within which to complete our assignment. To ensure that we do not operate in a vacuum, we have prepared limited copies of our procedural rules to guide us in our daily tasks,” he stated.
Justice Ogola urged members of the public to submit their petitions within the time frame, as the panel would not entertain any petitions after January ending.
The panel’s terms of reference include receiving and investigating complaints of police brutality or related extra-judicial killings, evaluating and drawing conclusions on the validity of complaints, as well as recommending compensations and other remedial measures for victims.
Speaking, state Commissioner of Police (CP), Mike Okoli, who was represented by Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of operations, Aminu Alhassan, said the police was ready to cooperate with the panel to complete its assignment.
He, however, warned that the Nigerian Police Force would not take responsibility for any of its personnel found culpable at the panel, saying: “All culpable officers are on their own.”
Chief Judge of the state, Kate Abiri, who was represented by Justice Matilda Ayemieye, expressed confidence in the Ogola-led panel and admonished its members to do a diligent job.
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