By Anayima Abo Màkurdi
As part of its measures to addressed brutalities and other dehumanizlng activlties of the Nigeria Police, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom yesterday inaugurated an eight-member Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate Human Rights Violations by the Police, especially the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the State.
The Governor while performing the ceremony at Government House Makurdi, said the constitution and swearing-in of the panel followed the resolution of the National Economic Council at its 108th meeting in Abuja recently.
According to him, ” the resolution was one of the measures taken to address complaints raised by the END SARS Protests across the country, and I believe this protest will challenge all leaders to rise and demonstrate sincerity and commitment in tackling the nation’s challenges.
“The protests have therefore provided us leaders with the opportunity to correct decades of illegalities and injustices meted on the people. It is against this background that we are today carrying out this very important state function of inaugurating the Judicial Panel of Inquiry” Ortom added.
He enumerated the panel’s terms of reference to include receiving and investigating complaints of Police brutality, human rights violations or related extra-judicial killings, and as well recommend compensation and other remedial measures where appropriate.
The Governor also disclosed that the panel which is headed by a retired Chief Judge of the State, Justice Adam Onum, has six months to complete its assignment and urged members of the Public to support the panel to justify the confidence reposed in them.
He noted that in line with the resolutions of the National Economic Council, Benue State would soon set up the Special Security and Human Rights Committee to monitor activities of the Special or Tactical units to be established by the Nigeria Police Force.
Responding on behalf of other members of the panel, Retired Justice Adam Onum commended the Governor for finding them worth of the assignment and pledged commitment and fair hearing to all parties.
Other members of the panel include Josephine Haba,Pharmacist Moses Asoo, retired Commissioner of Police Anthony Ogboji, Ityonongo Terdoo John Mark, Joshua Tiv, Joshua Tyoyer and Edward Yange who also doubles as Secretary of the panel.