Ebonyi #EndSARS Panel Recommends N100m Compensation For Victims Of Police Violence

Ebonyi #EndSARS Panel Recommends N100m Compensation For Victims Of Police Violence

-As Umahi faults Economic Restructuring in Nigeria

By Oswald Agwu

The Judicial Panel of inquiry into complaints of extra-judicial killings and human rights violations in Ebonyi State, outcome of the national EndSARS youth protest in Nigeria has recommended over One Hundred million naira compensation for victims.

The recommendation was contained in the Panel’s report submitted to Governor David Umahi during Executive Council meeting on Wednesday at the Government House, Abakaliki.

Presenting the report, the Chairman of the panel, and former Chief Judge of the State, Justice Alloy Nwankwo, explained that a total of 71 petitions were received by the panel, out of which it heard and determined 51, while 20 petitions were either struck out, abandoned or withdrawn for want of diligent prosecution. 

He further noted that cases that were found to be pending in courts were also struck out as the panel did not have the power to venture into such matters which are sub-judice.  Also, petitions that were found unmeritorious and viewed as “gold digging” were dismissed while recommendations were made in deserving ones.

Nwankwo explained: “The total compensation recommended by the panel is One Hundred and Eighty Nine Million, Two Hundred Thousand Naira only (N189, 200, 000) only. 

“In cases of extra-judicial killings, uniform compensation was awarded, that is in cases of extra-judicial killings involving deaths, uniform compensation was awarded … “

The Governor at the event, also received the report of the Visitation Panel of Enquiry on Ebonyi State University submitted by its Chairman, Prof. Celina Okoh. 

Oko expressed hope that the report of the panel set up by the Governor on 11th June, 2021 would help reposition the University for Greater Efficiency.  

Oko said: “… The panel is hopeful that the recommendations will go a long way in helping the state government to reposition Ebonyi State University to continue to be among the best universities in Nigeria and in line with the visions of Your Excellency”. 

Receiving the reports, Governor David Umahi commended the panels for their results, promising to look into their recommendations after due deliberations with the members of his executive council.

Observing that things are hard for the State in particular and the country in general, he endorsed administrative restructuring of the nation, while insisting that that economic restructuring would not be favourable to some low profile States.

Umahi added: “A time has come that we must be able to begin to think what we can do to develop ourselves. 

”The times are not promising, to be fair. 

“We are today on VAT war.

“I have been an advocate of classified restructuring; first administrative restructuring, where certain powers are conceded to states. 

“But when it comes to economic restructuring, we have to first of all develop the neglected states with the resources of the nation. 

“We need South East Economic Commission, just like we have in the North East. 

“The devastation in South East is almost the same thing with insecurity and all kinds.” 

Earlier in an opening remark, the State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Cletus Ofoke, had explained that the panel was inaugurated on October 20, 2020, following the recommendations of the National Economic Council headed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo,  on ways  forward after the youth EndSARS protest in Nigeria, which later turned awry.

Part of the Panel’s terms of reference were to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality, human right violations or related extra-judicial killings in Ebonyi State; evaluate evidences presented/surrounding circumstances as well as draw conclusions on the validity of such complaints and recommend compensations, other remedial measures where appropriate.

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