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#EndSARS: Judicial Panel In Akwa Ibom Commences

The Judicial Panel of Investigation on Incidences of Police Brutality in Akwa Ibom State has commenced proceedings with a call for affected citizens to submit their petitions.

The Chairman of the Panel, Retired Justice Ifiok Ukana, asked citizens with genuine complaints to approach the panel, with assurances of justice.

Justice Ukana who assured that the panel will address petitions with utmost care and objectivity, urged citizens to “avail themselves of the opportunity presented by setting up of this panel”, noting that “alleged wrongs can only be redressed if victims of police brutality and human rights violations step forward to be heard.”

He stressed on the need for victims to present complaints backed with evidence, to strengthen claims and ensure expedition of justice.

“This panel is spirit-filled but in the spirit of the law, the Holy Spirit doesn’t give evidence. Your issues should come with evidence. Hire a lawyer that can lead you to evidence if possible,” he said.

The panel also announced that the call for memoranda would last for 14 working days, with a deadline for submission on November 13, 2020.

The eight-man panel which was inaugurated by Governor Udom Emmanuel on Monday, October 20, 2020, held its inaugural sitting on Monday, October 26, 2020, at the High Court Complex Annex Akpan Akpa Udo Street (Fulga Road), Off Ikot Ekpene Road, in Uyo, the state capital.

It is made up of Retired Justice Ifiok Ukana, Chairman; Mmanti Umoh, representative of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and  Protesters; Harry Udoh, representative of CSOs and Mfon Edemekong, representative of the Ministry of Justice, who also doubles as the Secretary of the Panel.

Others are Omen Bassey, youth representative; Aniedi Michael, student representative and Tony Iji of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

The panel is charged with the responsibility of receiving and investigating complaints of alleged police brutality, human rights violations and extra-judicial killings in the state. It is also mandated to evaluate and present evidence surrounding the circumstances and draw conclusions as to the validity of the complaints raised.

It is scheduled to resume sitting for hearing complaints on November 16, 2020

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