George Okoh In Makurdi
The EndSARs Panel in Benue State has recommended compensations in the total sum of N304,535,095.85 to be paid to various categories of victims of Police brutality in the state.
The recommendation was contained in a report submitted yesterday by the Chairman of the Panel and a former Chief Judge of the State, Justice Adam Onum to the Deputy Governor Engr. Benson Abounu.
The panel also recommended various police officers to the Attorney-General of the State for discreet investigations with a view to prosecuting them for respective crimes arising from respective conducts.
Justice Onum disclosed that during their sitting, they received 72 petitions, maintaining that some were dismissed and withdrawn.
He observed that during the course of investigations, the panel discovered different levels of police brutality, including, an instance where some persons were brutally murdered by the police in cold blood, leaving families without respective heads and breadwinners.
According to him, ‘there were some persons who died in police custody, owing to complications arising from torture and/or other forms of abuse of police powers, including unwarranted denial of rights to bail; some persons suffered grievous bodily hurts, or non grievous bodily hurts, as defined under law, in the hands of the Police.”
Furthermore, he stated there were instances where some items of property were destroyed by the Police or unjustly seized and confiscated by the Police; where persons were subjected to intimidation, with the sole aim of extorting money from them; here the Police took advantage of its privileged position to refuse to obey judicial orders, particularly over breaches of fundamental rights.”
Receiving the report, the Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu said the State government would hand over the report to the Federal Government who had given them the mandate to set up the panel.
He said the state government expects a quick action from the Federal authorities in dealing with security agencies especially the Police for acts of brutality on citizens.