Human RightsNews

#EndSARS: Five Youth Reps Pull Out Of Southeast Panel

Five representatives at the #EndSARS judicial panel in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria, for lack of government transparency and support.

Five youth representatives in the Anambra Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police brutality have announced their resignation from the panel effective Sunday, Feb. 14.

The youth representatives are Chijioke Ifediora, Henry Ugwu, Osonwa Chukwuka, Ebelechukwu Ngini and Chibuike Obiwuzie.

Ifediora who read an Open letter to Willie Obiano, Governor of Anambra State, said the state government had demonstrated through its treatment of the panel that it was not set up to address police victims’ plight.

He said the government failed to provide the logistics and support needed to function effectively.

The spokesperson for the aggrieved youth representatives said the panel had over 250 pending petitions from the 310 submitted, but the government has been mute since the panel adjourned in early December.

He argued that it was supposed to have resumed on Jan. 14, noting that the application for more sitting days to enable the panel to attend to its cases had not been granted and that the society was now seeing members of the panel as conniving with the government to deny them the right to a fair hearing.

They appreciated the state governor for allowing them to serve but said they would no longer be part of it.

“It is imperative to mention that Anambra, under your watch and that of your predecessor, was the cynosure of Police brutality, extortion, and even extrajudicial killings in Nigeria,” the letter reads.

“The notorious defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Awkuzu and numerous other police outfits in Anambra State have become infamous around the world for outrageous, unconscionable, and iniquitous violations of the fundamental rights of Nigerians, including the right to life.”

“We were impressed when the Government promptly constituted the Panel to investigate cases of Police brutality and recommend compensation to victims, among other points in its terms of reference.”

“Sadly, the sittings of the Panel were characterised by inefficiency and poor organisation because the state government failed woefully to adequately provide for logistics for anything at all involving the proceedings of the Panel. 

“We are however now convinced beyond peradventure that the Anambra State Government has no regard for the victims of the many human rights violations by the police in the state.

“The Government has totally ignored the Panel and has simply set up the Panel to play to the gallery.”

“Many victims and other interested stakeholders have been communicating the Panel’s secretariat or its members in a bid to know why the Panel is no longer sitting despite more than 250 petitions which have been unattended to.”

“We firmly refuse to be pawns in the game of the Government, so we hereby resign our appointments into the Anambra State Panel and completely dissociate ourselves from all the charade put up to give lip service to the plights of residents of Anambra State.”

HumAngle reports that the Anambra State Government had announced while setting up the panel in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest that it had earmarked the sum of N200 million as compensation for victims whose brutality were proven at the panel.

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