BY BERNARD TOLANI DADA, Uyo
Petitioners at the judicial panel of enquiry set up by Akwa Ibom State government on incidences of police brutality in the state have complained about non-payment of compensation to them by the state government.
One of them a native of Urueffong Oruko local government area, who spoke with newsmen weekend in Uyo lamented how her hope of getting monetary compensation was dashed after proving how police officers invaded her residence, shot her at the leg and fled.
The petitioner who simply identified herself as Mary said why she is still limping was due to lack of funds to go to hospital to access proper medical treatment, noting that she has already spent all she had treating the leg in a traditional healing centre.
Another petitioner who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation by the state government narrated that he travelled from a far distance down to Akwa Ibom, his state.
, to check if the state has commenced payment of compensation as recommended by the federal government.
“I have presented my complaint before the panel of inquiry so I don’t want to say it again for obvious reasons. But I am worried that Akwa Ibom State government has not commenced the payment of compensation to victims. It is high time the panel do something about it because other states have started.
“I passed through a lot of stress in bringing my witnesses from where they reside to the court anytime my matter would be heard. It is my prayer that I receive justice and be compensated,” he said.
It could be recalled that the National Economic Council (NEC) headed by the vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo had at the end of its 108 meeting on October 14, 2020 directed all state governors to set up Judicial panel of inquiry to investigate alleged incidences of brutality by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and recommend compensation and other remedial measures where appropriate.
The council had also urged the states to establish victims support fund through which compensation would be paid to victims to assuage their plight.
To back up the resolution, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila had insisted that the budget would not be passed unless the victims support fund is captured therein.
Governor Udom Emmanuel in compliance with NEC’s directive had on Tuesday October 20, 2020 inaugurated a 8-man panel chaired by Justice Ifiok Ukana with the mandate to receive and investigate complaint of police brutality, human rights violations and extra judicial killings in the state.