The Judicial Panel of Investigation on Incidences of police brutality and other human rights violations in Akwa Ibom says it received 92 petitions at its inaugural sitting on Monday. Eight of the cases was mentioned and considered two pathetic cases of brutal killing presented by counsels to the victims.
It would be recalled that, Akwa Ibom State Government had on October 20, 2020 set up a judicial panel to investigate complaints of police brutality, human rights violations, and related extra judicial killings in the State, as reaction to the nationwide EndSARS protest.
Specifically, a total of 8 petitions were mentioned at the inaugural sitting, including petitions from Obong Paul Etim Ekpo, Beautrice Abosede Osaniya, Esara Victor Umoh, among others. The first case involved the alleged murder of one Alade Jonathan Farojoye – a fisherman and pastor with the Deeper Life Bible Church who was allegedly murdered by the police at Iwoukpom, Ibeno Local Government Area of Alwa Ibom State.
The second case considered by the panel was on the alleged killing of one Mr. Augustine Effiong, a taxi driver, by men of the now disbanded Special Anti-robbery Squad, SARS. The late Effiong, as the case revealed was until his arrest and subsequent death in police custody, plying Uyo- Eket route as taxi driver.
Counsels to the victims further revealed to the panel that, corpses of both Farojoye who was allegedly killed in September 2017 and Effiong whose life was also truncated in October 2019 were yet to be released to their families for burial, despite several appeals to the police.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Judicial Panel, Justice Ifiok Ukana Rtd, had assured that, the Panel was determined to ensure fair hearing to all parties involved.
According to him, the panel would make recommendations to the state government and where necessary direct the State Attorney General to ensure that those culpable are prosecuted and compensation given to families of victims, pledging that, accelerated hearing would be given to all petitions
Meanwhile, the Panel has ordered that copies of the petitions be served on all parties involved while summons have also been issued to them to appear before it.
The Panel have also extended the time for submission of memoranda by 7days, beginning from Tuesday, November 17 in the interest of justice and called on members of the public to use the extension period to submit their petitions.