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#EndSARS: Lawyer Petitions Ondo Judicial Panel of Inquiry

#EndSARS: Lawyer Petitions Ondo Judicial Panel of Inquiry

#EndSARS: Lawyer asks Ondo to release panel report

Mr. Tope Temokun, a lawyer, has demanded that the Ondo State Government make public the findings of the investigation panel into the state’s police brutality incident.

Justice Adesola Sidiq led the group, which the state government established in 2020; however, the panel’s report has not yet been made available to the public.

In a statement released on Friday, Temokun criticized the report’s publication delay, calling the development “illegal” and “wicked to humanity.”

The legal practitioner said, “In Ondo State, Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, pursuant to the powers vested on him under section 2 of the Commission of Inquiry Law, Cap. 32 Vol. 1 Laws of Ondo State 2006, constituted an eight-man panel of inquiry to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related judicial killings by the police in Ondo state and to recommend compensation and other remedial measures for victims.

“The eight-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry, headed by retired Hon. Justice Adesola Sidiq, was constituted on October 20, 2020.

“After hearing about 77 petitions from members of the public who have suffered one degree of brutality or the other in the hands of the police in Ondo State, on Wednesday the 28th of April 2021 the panel submitted its recommendation to the governor, recommending among others, payment of compensation of N755 million to victims.

“Justice Sidiq’s panel did not only recommend payment of monetary compensation but also recommended the publication of apologies in national dailies in deserving cases, while also laudably, recommending a review of Section 84 of the Sheriffs and Civil Processes Act to smoothen the process of judgment execution against police and other public officers where victims of human rights breaches have approached the court and got favourable judgment.

“It was such a beautiful report and it would serve the interest of justice if allowed to see the light of the day. Sadly, three years after, the panel report has not been released nor has it been implemented.”

Temokun stated that the governor has a legal obligation to act upon receiving the results of the commission of inquiry, as stipulated by the Ondo State Commission of Inquiry Law, even as he pleaded with the Ondo Government to release the panel report.

“The law is not for fun. Putting up such a huge exercise by law is not also a joke. The duty imposed on the governor is a serious one and it does not include keeping away or hiding such reports from the public. The duty includes the release of the report to members of the public.

“In this case, the public fund was dissipated into that exercise and the poor victims, embracing hopes and trusting in the government, travelled distances from the various communities of the state to come and present their complaints.

“The panel had completed its historical and statutory role and had submitted a report. Conscience had become clear that they had completed their job. We call on the government of Ondo State to purge itself of this sinful act release the report to the public and implement same. We shall approach the court to enforce this if the government fails to heed,” the attorney stated.

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