By Austin Ogwuda
DELTA State government will tomorrow Wednesday, inaugurate a Human Rights Public Complaints Committee which main function is to ensure safe policing devoid of any form abuse against the populace.
This was contained in a statement by the Secretary to the State government Mr. Patrick Ukah in Asaba yesterday.
According to the statement governor Ifeanyi Okowa will chair this all-important Committee.
The statement stated that “it (government) has accepted the recommendation of the Panel for the setting up of a Human Rights Public Complaints Committee to be headed by His Excellency, the Governor of Delta State and which will ensure that police officers respect the right of citizens during their operations.
“This committee will be inaugurated on Wednesday 20th of October 2021”.
The statement further read
Government wishes to inform all Deltans and residents of the State that “government has received and considered the Report of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry that was constituted to receive and enquire into complaints of Police brutality and related extra judicial killings in the State.
“The Panel which was inaugurated in October, 2020 received a total of 86 petitions for which it conducted Public Hearings in Asaba and Ward with full legal representation for all parties.
“It is worthy of mention that the Panel was not able to make recommendations on the entire petitions received by it, as some of these petitions are currently pending in various court in the State. “Hence making pronouncements on them would be sub-judice”.
“In addition”,. the statement went on, “some of the petitions were struck out by the Panel during the Hearing sessions for various reasons.
“More importantly, the Panel was able to establish acts of police brutality in some cases, resulting in death or denial of personal liberty and accordingly awarded monetary compensation for the victims in these cases.
“In the same vein, the Panel upheld judgements earlier delivered by High Courts in the State for various cases of police brutality, which judgement have not been complied with till date, including payment of Judgement debts associated with them.
“The State Government having considered the Panel’s recommendations in these two categories of cases has accepted to pay the incidental claims recommended for the victims, amounting to the sum of N102,450,000.00 (One hundred and two million, four hundred and fifty thousand naira). This payment would be effected in due course.
“Another variant of the petitions received by the Panel were thirty (30) petitions which required that the Commissioner of Police in the State carry out investigations to ascertain the circumstance of death of some persons in police custody. The inquiry will also entail the investigation of policemen indentified to be involved in various acts of brutality. It is the expectation that at the completion of the investigation, the case files would be forwarded to the Attorney-General of Delta State for legal advice and possible prosecution of the policemen involved.
“Moreover, the State Govemment is working with the office of His Excellency, the Vice President and the National Economic Council (NEC) to ensure that other recommendations of the Judicial Panel which border on the operational modalities of the Nigeria Police are implemented appropriately and timeously.
“With the consideration of the Report of the Judicial Panel as explained in the foregoing paragraphs, Deltans and fellow citizens are hereby assured that policing in Delta State will take a more civil course going forward. Deltans and fellow citizen are hereby enjoined to embrace this commitment towards new social partnership for the greater good of our state and nation” the statement added.