- Lawyers, Journalists, lament dearth of Information on Panels next move
- As Uncertainty beclouds submission of Panels Report
- Victims of Police Brutality in major dilemma over their Fate
Activities of the 8-man panel set up by the Governor of Akwa -Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom to investigate police brutality complaint in the state following the #endsars protest, has continued to meet a dead end.
Information’s’ from credible sources in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State Capital, indicated that there has been a dead end in the operations of the state’s judicial panel of investigation as members are said to be divided on the next steps of the panel given the conclusion of the Five Month long public sitting of the panel which received and heard over One hundred and forty cases’ of alleged police brutality and human rights abuses, such as extra-judicial killings, torture, confiscation of property, unlawful/prolonged detention and extortion.
Lawyers who represented victims of Police Brutality in the state and Journalists had earlier expected a clear-cut statement on the Panels next steps during the closing session of it’s Five Month long public sittings but was disappointed as the Hon .Justice Ifiok Ukana (RTD) led eight member panel was not forthcoming on such.
Considering it’s mandate, lawyers and Journalists who had been covering the panels public sittings had expected definite pronouncement on the Panels next steps which includes the methodology of consideration of recommendations/award of compensation by the panel and it’s time line, given that the panel is due to submit it’s report to the State Governor, His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel in April and but so far there’s no information on the date of submission of the panels report when some state panels like that of Lagos, Rivers, had already turned in their reports and others had even started dishing out compensation to victims of Police Brutality, thus, making victims in the state who took their matters to the panel to anticipate same.
Furthermore, it was revealed that there are unconfirmed reasons surrounding the seeming stalemate, ranging from lack of logistics to enable the panel conclude it’s work to alleged division among members of the panel on key issues, amongst others.
However, it is expedient that the panel, with it’s Secretariat run by the Ministry of Justice makes it’s position on it’s next steps public as the panels Secretariat can no longer be located for information, having moved out of the Judiciary Headquarters Annex, Fulga Road, where it operated from during it’s Five Month long public sittings.
Besides the uncertainty in the panels timeline of operations and date of submission of report to the Governor, Victims of police brutality and human rights abuses by the defunct SARS are now in a dilemma over their fate, which was hinged on the work of the panel, where they painstakingly took their plight to with hope for Justice following the October 10th 2020 Nationwide ENDSARS protest which led to the scrapping of SARS and the setting up of Judicial Panels to investigate alleged atrocities by it’s personnel Nationwide.
Meanwhile as at the time of filling this report, efforts to speak with the Chairman of the Panel, Hon. Justice Ifiok Ukana (RTD) and the State Attorney General/Hon. Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Uko Udom, SAN for clarification were futile.