The victims of extrajudicial executions by police and other security personnel have been awarded N21 billion by the Bayelsa Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality and Other Related Offenses.
While presenting the findings to Gov. Douye Diri in Yenagoa, Chairman of the Panel, rtd. Justice Young Ogola, revealed this.
According to Justice Ogola, the panel received 50 petitions, reviewed them, and issued recommendations based on their findings.
He claimed 11 police officers were recommended for prosecution, one for dismissal, four for demotion, eight cases were dismissed, and two were adjourned out of the 50 cases.
The figure included compensation to communities bulldozed down by the Nigerian Army, according to the chairman, who revealed that the N21 billion was given in damages out of the 40 instances properly decided.
When Gov. Diri received the report, he congratulated the panel for their hard work and vowed to form a government White paper committee to investigate the report and put its suggestions into action.
Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the governor’s deputy, stated that the administration would search for measures to provide relief to the victims and their families within available means.
” While no amount of compensation will be able to bring back some of the deceased, it will help to alleviate the sorrow of the victims and their families as a result of the foolish security agents’ actions,” he said.
While noting the immense challenge that security organizations have in protecting lives and property, Diri urged security forces to enforce the law within the law’s bounds.
“The panel was formed to investigate the core causes of unfairness and human rights violations, as well as the most effective manner for police and other security forces in the country to carry out their jobs professionally and with a human face. The concerns you’ve highlighted will be investigated. The N21 billion award is reasonable, but the security agencies’ willingness to pay is another matter.
“Within the constraints of available resources and procedures, we will determine how these victims will be compensated.
“While law enforcement authorities have a duty to safeguard lives and property on a daily basis, they equally have a responsibility to do so within the boundaries of responsibility and the preservation of all citizens’ human rights,” he said.
The panel was established on October 28, 2020, following the nationwide #EndSars# protest.
Mr. Y.B. Ogola, Mr. Alaowei Opokuma as Secretary, A.T. Ambaowei, Mr Fortune Alfred Godson, Miss Perelade Demanche, both representing civil society, and Russell Newman, representing the National Human Rights Commission, are the other members of the panel.
by Olutayo olusanya