By AZA MSUE, Kaduna
The Acting Governor of Kaduna State, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, has given the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into police brutality six months to conclude its work and submit report, saying the demand for accountability in policing is a national issue.
She noted that the federal and state governments have endorsed the demand for reforms to policing, describing the constitution of the inquiry as a firm signal that impunity will not be tolerated.
Balarabe who made this known while inaugurating members of the commission on Monday, said that the inquiry is aimed at establishing accountability for unlawful conduct by police personnel.
The Acting Governor said the commission will also create ‘’a platform for victims and their families to receive redress for their pain and loss.’’
Balarabe recalled that serious concerns about police accountability have in the last two weeks been expressed with unmistakable clarity.
‘’While the youths of this country have been at the forefront of making the urgent resolution of this issue a national priority, there is no doubt that on this matter they speak for more than only their demographic,’’ she added.
She said the groundswell of support the youths have attracted reflects a widespread view that the crisis of policing is a national emergency, adding that there is need for an inquiry.
‘’Such an inquiry would also, along with other actions, help enthrone the principle that the police as the prime law enforcement agency in Nigeria must itself be governed by and uphold the rule of law,’’ she added.
Balarabe noted that ‘’the emergence of sustained institutional mechanisms for independent review of police actions will help provide safeguards against abuse of police powers.
‘’ It will also help build public confidence that we can build a police service that can be relied upon to enforce the law fairly and impartially,’’ she further said.
The Acting Governor argued that it is time to devolve policing powers and institute necessary safeguards for lawful conduct and protection of human rights ‘’as recommended by the APC Committee of The Federalism chaired by our Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai”
She pointed out the anomaly of the fact that the federal government deploys all policemen to but their operations are being funded by state governments.
The Acting Governor said that the commission will ‘’receive and investigate complaints of Police brutality or related extra judicial killings.
‘’Evaluate evidence presented/other surrounding circumstances, and draw conclusions as to the validity of the complaints; and recommend compensation and other remedial measures, where appropriate.’’
The seven member commission has retired Justice David Shiri Wyom as chairman and AIG Lawal Tanko (rtd) is a member, while Rebecca Sako-John and Mustapha Jumare represent the civil Society.
Yakubu Umar Ibrahim represents students, while Nathaniel Sheyi Bagudu and Tergu Gwar, will represent the youth and National Human Rights Commission respectively.
Hajara Abubakar, acting Director, Citizens Right Department of the Ministry of Justice, represents the Attorney-General of Kaduna State. ENDs