From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
A total sum of N102,450,000.00 would be paid as incidental claims to victims of police brutality and human rights violations in Delta State.
This is coming amid pockets of agitation over the delay in the implementation of the report of the Judicial Panel of Enquiry set up in the wake of last year’s #EndSARS unrest.
In a statement on Tuesday by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Patrick Ukah, the approval of the compensation followed the consideration of the panel’s report by the government.
Ukah said the state government also approved the constitution of a seven-man committee for the protection of the rights of citizens with Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as chairman.
He said the committee is to ensure that the fundamental human rights of citizens are respected and protected by police officers in the course of duty.
According to Ukah, the panel established acts of police brutality in some of the investigated cases, resulting in death or denial of personal liberty, hence, the award of monetary compensation.
‘In the same vein, the panel upheld judgements earlier delivered by high courts in the state for various cases of police brutality, which judgements have not been complied with till date, including payment of judgement debts associated with them.
‘The state government, having considered the panel’s recommendations in these two categories of cases, has accepted to pay the incidental claims recommended for the victims, amounting to the sum of N102,450,000.00. This payment would be effected in due course,’ he stated.
Ukah explained that the panel received another 30 petitions which required the Commissioner of Police to carry out investigations to ascertain the circumstance of the death of some persons in police custody.
‘The inquiry will also entail the investigation of policemen identified to be involved in various acts of brutality,’ he added.
Besides the 30 petitions, Daily Sun learnt that the panel received 86 petitions across the state after it was inaugurated in October last year.
Meanwhile, membership of the Human Rights Protection Committee which has Okowa as chairman includes the state Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Commissioner for Youths, Commissioner for Police, Harrison Gwamnishu representing the youths, Israel Joe representing Civil Society Organizations and the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice.