Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality in Akwa Ibom State, Southsouth Nigeria commenced proceedings on Monday with 92 petitions received from victims of police brutality.
The eight-man panel led by Ifiok Ukana, a retired justice, held its sitting at the High Court Complex Annex on Fulga Street in Uyo, the state’s capital.
Ukana in his inaugural address, apologized for the late commencement of proceedings, attributing it to power issues that plagued the court.
“We apologize for resuming late today. It was due to the power issues we had. I want to assure you that from tomorrow this panel will commence by 9 am, as it should,” he said.
He revealed that the panel has received 92 petitions from victims of police brutality in the state since it was inaugurated.
Ukana also stressed the need for petitioners and counsels to produce and preserve evidence to back up their claims.
“There is a need to gather and preserve evidence in any way possible. This is a judicial panel and evidence is critical because the evidence is a means of proof,” he said.
He noted that “there is no credible case without proof and a case without evidence is bound to fail.”
The chairman of the panel also announced the extension of the deadline for submission of petitions by one week noting that the decision followed an intervention by the human rights community in the state.
“Based on the intervention of the human rights community here, we have agreed to extend the deadline for submission of petitions by one week starting from tomorrow (Tuesday),” he said.
“This is to enable persons who have complaints to file their petitions. We don’t want to shut anyone out.”
The eight petitions which were presented for hearing on Monday were adjourned to later dates, to enable the panel to serve a summons on the parties against whom allegations were made in the petitions.
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