The Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality and other related matters, also known as #EndSARS panel, on Tuesday, concluded its public sittings on 163 cases brought before it.
The panel had after Tuesday’s sitting announced the conclusion of public hearings on all matters after 63 sittings spanning over six months.
After considering a total of 163 petitions submitted to it by members of the public, the panel said it will begin the process of reviewing each petition through technical meetings and deliberations, which will lead to the final report that will be submitted to the state government for implementation.
Chairman of the Panel, Justice Bolajoko Adeniji (rtd), who declared the winding up of the Panel’s public sittings at its last sitting held at the House of Chiefs, House of Assembly Complex, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, said that the Panel’s report will be submitted to the relevant authority in due course.
Justice Adeniji, a former Chief Judge of Oyo State, appreciated the governor of the state for appointing men and women of integrity, probity and honest disposition into the panel.
She equally appreciated the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Olubami Adeosun, the Ministry of Justice, the Nigerian Bar Association and the police legal team, among others, for different roles played while the sittings lasted.
She said: “It should be recalled that there were protests nationwide against Police brutality tagged #EndSARS sometime in October 2020.
“The youths saw the protest as a means of expressing their bitter experiences at the hands of the Nigerian Police Force.
“The #EndSARS protesters presented what was termed 5 for 5 demands to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Consequent upon the above, the Federal Government directed that all state governments should set up a judicial panel of inquiry to look into petitions submitted by alleged victims of police brutality, victimisation and unlawful killings in the various states.
“Consequent upon the directive of the Federal Government, His Excellency, the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde, set up a 10-man Committee to form the judicial panel of inquiry in Oyo State.
“The panel was inaugurated on Tuesday 10th of November, 2020 to receive and investigate police brutality on the latest extrajudicial killings; to evaluate evidence presented or/and other surrounding circumstances and draw conclusions as to the validity of the complaints; recommend compensation and other remedial measures where appropriate.
“The panel’s inaugural meeting was held on Wednesday 22nd of November, 2020 at the conference room of the Ministry of Justice. The purpose of this meeting was to set out the modus operandi of the panel and all other relevant logistics. Other and further meetings were also held on 23rd of December, 2020; 11th of January, 2021 and 19th of January, 2021 respectively at the same venue.
“The first sitting of the panel came up on 26th of January, 2021 at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Ibadan, having received 163 petitions. The petitions have been completed as of today, Tuesday 13th July, 2021 to the glory of God.
“The work has been very strenuous and tasking but the panel members and all the stakeholders that are the petitioners, witnesses, Police legal representatives, counsel, especially the pro-bono lawyers, news media men were all up to the task.
“The Panel’s report will be submitted to the relevant authority in due course.”