Bayelsa panel of inquiry awards N21bn to police brutality victims
*Govt to set up White Paper Committee
The Bayelsa State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality and other Related Offences has submitted its final report, awarding a total of N21 billion to victims of extra-judicial killings perpetrated by the police and other securty operatives.
Chairman of the Panel, Justice Young Ogola (Retd), disclosed this while submitting the report to Governor Douye Diri at the Executive Chambers of Government House, Yenagoa on Wednesday.
According to Justice Ogola, the panel received and determined a total of 50 petitions and made recommendations based on their findings.
Out of the 50 cases, he said 11 police officers were recommended for prosecution, one for dismissal, four for demotion, while eight cases were struck out and two adjourned.
The Chairman explained that the N21 billion was awarded as damages out of the 40 cases fully determined, adding that the amount included compensation to communities razed down by the Nigerian Army.
Receiving the report, Governor Diri thanked the Committee and promised to set up a White paper committee to look into the report with a view to implementing its recommendations.
The Governor, who was represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, noted that government would look for ways to bring relief to the victims and families within available resources.
According to him, although no amount of compensation could bring back the deceased, but would only assist in ameliorating the suffering of the victims and families caused by the excesses of misguided security agents.
While acknowledging the enormous task of the security agencies to secure lives and property, Senator Diri called on security personnel to enforce the law within the confines of the law.
The Governor said, “The panel was set up to get to the root of injustice, violation of human rights and the best way with which police and other security agencies in the country will discharge their duties professionally with human face.
“The issues you have raised will be looked into. The 21 billion naira awarded is appropriate, but for the security agencies to pay is another thing. We will within the limits of available resources and procedures see how these victims will get reprieve.
“Compensation cannot bring back the lives lost, but it will assuage and remediate the pain and sufferings of victims and those affected by the actions of security agencies.
“While the law enforcement agencies have everyday to protect lives and property, they also have a duty to do that within the confines of responsibility and protection of human rights of all citizens.”
Members of the Panel which was inaugurated on 28th October last year in the wake of the EndSars nationwide protest, included the Chairman, Bayelsa Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr Samuel Numunengi while Mr Alaowei Opokuma served as Secretary.Steve Oko, Publisher/C.E.O, WaWa News Global. For more information on advert placement and news coverage, contact us on: 08038725600, or via email [email protected]; [email protected] Always read WaWa News Global - Your most dependable online news platform for the latest breaking news in Nigeria.