By Ogemdi Ozoemenam, Awka
Anambra Civil Society Network (ACSONET), a foremost platform for Citizens and Non-State Actors stakeholders has urged Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo to act upon the EndSARS Judicial Panel of inquiry report submitted in March 2022.
The leader of the group Prince Chris Azor, who was a member of the Panel, stated this as part of his remarks during a recent training workshop on combating terrorism and money laundering.
Comrade Azor revealed that
Anambra State Judicial Panel that investigated police brutality following the EndSARS protest, which was headed by Justice Veronica Umeh (rtd), submitted it’s report after over one year of deliberations, and recommended N699.5million compensation for 170 petitioners/families of dead victims of police brutality.
According to Comrade Azor, the Panel’s report was submitted to the State Government on Tuesday, 15th March, 2022 at the Government House, Awka.
He contended that for Government to address insecurity, it should first act on the report to ameliorate the various injuries suffered by victims and their families in order achieve desired peace and security in the State and indeed the Southeast region.
Prince Azor maintained that non-implementation of the Panel’s report would widen the trust deficit between the Citizens and Government which may lead to yet another EndSars in the near future.
“Recall that as a result of the nationwide protests in October 2020, the Federal Government enjoined all States to constitute judicial panels of inquiry to address the five (5) point demand of the protesters, namely, immediate release of all arrested protesters, psychological evaluation and retraining of all disbanded SARS officers prior to their redeployment, compensation for all victims of police brutality, investigation and prosecution of errant police officers, and increased police salary.
“Anambra State Government accordingly constituted a Panel made up of over 35 major stakeholders cutting across sundry interests. The Panel received over 300 petitions and made recommendations in a report submitted to the State Government.
“Highlights of the recommendations are N699.5million for 170 petitioners, Victims with permanent deformities were be paid between N1million and N3million, depending on the extent of their injuries, while those with minor injuries should receive between N400,000 and N1million. Again, all #EndSARS policemen found culpable to be prosecuted even as all officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force would be going on annual psychological examination, “Policemen, who refused to obey superior orders to be punished, while confiscated properties of #EndSARS victims are to be released.
“Forensic examination of the Awkuzu and Nnewi #EndSARS offices, where extrajudicial killings took place, and the policemen involved in the killings to be prosecuted was also recommended by the Panel.
“Secretary to the State Government, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, who received the report on behalf of the State Government, in his response said, “We will study the report and make necessary recommendations. Rest assured that the incoming government will work with the outgoing government”.
“However, up till this moment no action has been taken on the report, rather the new administration at inception constituted a Truth, Justice and Peace Commission with Prof Chidi Odinkalu and Ambassador Bianca Odimegwu Ojukwu as Chairman and Secretary respectively”, Prince Azor concluded.