Human RightsNews

Anambra SARS Panel Concludes 23 Of 310 Petitions

The Judicial Panel of Inquiry (JPI) set up to hear petitions on police brutality sitting in Awka, Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria says it has received a total of 310 petitions as of Wednesday, December 8, 2020.

The JPI was set up in most states of Nigeria on the directive of the Federal Government in the aftermath of #EndSARS protests to investigate allegations of abuse and brutality against the police by Nigerians.

Justice Veronica Umeh, Chairman of JPI said 23 petitions have been concluded after 11 sittings including those struck out for bordering on issues outside the panel’s terms of reference.

Umeh said the panel had applied for additional 24 sittings after the initial 12 sittings which would elapse on December 10 to enable it to attend to the barrage of petitions before it.

She said the panel had closed the window of submission by petitioners adding that it had applied additional 24 sittings to enable it attend to all the petitions before it.

JPI Anambra
JPI Anambra

“We have a total of 287 outstanding petitions from 310 so far received, we have concluded 23 in all because the one coming on Jan.19 is mere formality, I would say that Anambra has the highest number of petition,” she said.

“On Thursday, December 10 we may have to go on vacation for Christmas and New Year break because traffic is building up and some petitioners and respondents may not be able to appear, so we have decided to vacate after Thursday and next adjourned date will be communicated.”

“We have applied for extension, today is our 11th sitting, so we have just one more sitting, we hope that before Thursday the approval will come.”

“We applied for 24 more sittings in view of the number of pending sitting and hope to be treating 10 cases every day and with that, we can conclude all the petitions.”

“The number got to 310 because the police themselves filed petitions against police brutality on them and we have separated them from those of victims of Police brutality,” she said.

Meanwhile, Chris Azor, a member of the panel in Anambra has given up his stipend and allowances for serving in the body.

Azor, Chairman, Anambra State Civil Society Network said his decision was in view of the economic realities of Nigeria and the state.

“I formally decide to henceforth freely, participate and work pro bono, without any pecuniary benefit, payment or allowance whatsoever,” his letter to the chairman read.

“I do this in empathy with my State and country, who recently entered into recession, with all its social and economic challenges.”

“I sincerely, thank the Hon. Chairman and distinguished members of the Panel for all the support, and urge us to continue to make the necessary and sufficient sacrifices in service to God and humanity.”

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