Reject report of Enugu Judicial Panel on Police Brutality, member urges Gov. Ugwuanyi

By AdvocateNews on 26/01/2022

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A member of the 8-man Enugu Judicial Panel on Police Brutality and Extra-Judicial Killings, Comrade Osomond Ugwu, has called on the state Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to reject the report submitted by the panel, saying that  the panel did a disservice to the petitioners as well as the state government.

 Alternatively, Comrade Ugwu urged the state governor to set up another panel to review the report submitted by Justice Kingsley Ude (rtd) led judicial panel on Police Brutality on Extra-Judicial Killings in the state.

Comrade Ugwu in an interview with The AUTHORITY, alleged that none of the petitions submitted to the panel was investigated, adding that no witness appeared before the panel as required by its terms of reference.

He, therefore, wondered how the panel came up with a report which it submitted to the governor late last year.

He said also that none of the petitions sent through electronic mail to the Panel’s Secretary, Mr. Onochie Obuna, was brought before the panel “even after Governor Ugwuanyi had specifically instructed the secretary to do so.”

He also alleged that the panel refused to adjudicate on the issue of jurisdiction raised by some of the defendants, saying instead the panel chairman arbitrarily referred such cases to the administrative board of inquiry. 

Comrade Ugwu who represented the civil society organizations in the panel, further alleged that Justice Ude refused to invite him to Government House on the day the report was submitted because he was afraid that he (Ugwu) might submit a minority report.

He called on Governor Ugwuanyi to set up another panel to review the report submitted by Justice Ude panel, arguing that due process was not followed before the panel arrived at its conclusions. 

It will be recalled that Governor Ugwuanyi inaugurated the 8-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry in October 2020, to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality and/or related extra-judicial killings in the state.  

Inaugurating the panel at the Government House, Enugu, the governor said it was in line with the National Economic Council (NEC) directive for establishment of state-based Judicial Panels of Inquiry across the country.

“The panel is to receive and investigate complaints of Police brutality and/or related extra-judicial killings with a view to delivering justice for all victims of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other Police Units,” the governor said.

The panel consisted of Justice Kingsley Ude (Rtd) as Chairman, the founding Director of Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), Prof. Joy Ezeilo and the Comrade Osmond Ugwu as members representing the Civil Society Organizations.

Other members of the panel included an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP Ikechukwu Odokoro (Rtd); representative of the youth, Charles Ogbu; representative of students, Comrade Stephen Ani, who is the Student Union President, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).

Others were the State Coordinator, National Human Rights Commission, Enugu State, Dr. Valentine Madubuko and Mr Onochie Obuna, representing the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, who serves as secretary of the panel.

Posted 26/01/2022 3:42:38 PM

 

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