By Hammed Shittu
Kwara State Governor, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, yesterday inaugurated a panel of inquiry to hear the grievances of the citizens who have been victims of alleged police brutality in the state, as part of the national efforts to calm frayed nerves, compensate victims, and reform the policing system.
Members inaugurated yesterday were retired Justice Tunde Garba (chairman); retired AIG Issa Ojibara; Ronke Adeyemi, Hajia Fati Audu, Kaothar Adeyi, Mrs. Jumoke Olaoye, Idris Gana, Nafisat Musa Buge, and Hassan Yusuf Adio.
The Secretary of the panel is Alhaji Shuaib AbdulGaniyu, Assistant Director (General Services) in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG).
The inaugural meeting of the panel will hold today at the Governor’s Office while further modalities of their sittings and other details would be announced later.
The governor said the #EndSARS protest represents a clear call from the citizens for a better deal, including a better policing system, adding that the setting up of the panel was in tune with the recommendations of the National Economic Council chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
“The panel is a deliberate effort to hear out our people who are aggrieved in one way or the other by our policing system. This is particularly true for our young people who started the popular #EndSARS protests across the country, including Kwara State.
“This effort is expected to birth a more people-friendly policing system which respects the rights of every citizen and abhors all forms of abuses,” he added.
The governor said the panel has a maximum of 90 days to carry out its assignment, with its terms of reference being to “receive and investigate complaints of police brutality, human rights abuses, violations and or extra judicial killings; evaluate evidences presented/surrounding circumstances and draw conclusions on the validity of the complaints; and recommend compensations, prosecution, and other remedial measures where appropriate.”
He urged the citizens, including the #EndSARS protesters, to embrace the windows of the panel to air their grievances and have same properly addressed by the government.
The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Salman Jawondo, said the panel would receive complaints from every member of the public who may have cases of rights abuses to report to the government for restitution and possible prosecution.
Speaking on behalf of members of the panel, retired Justice Garba commended the state governor for finding them worthy of the state assignment.
“It is indeed a task, a challenge and calling which we pray to the Almighty Allah to assist and guide us in living up to the expectation to the majority of our people, including the victims of the alleged brutality of the disbanded SARS,” he said.