From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
The Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up to investigate police brutality and other related extra-judicial killings in Kaduna State said on Thursday that it has so far received 29 petitions as at December 11 when it held its inaugural sitting at State House, Kawo, Kaduna.
The panel was the first to be inaugurated by Kaduna Deputy Governor Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe following the directive of the national executive council for the establishment of a state-based judicial panel of inquiry across the country to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality, extra-judicial killings and human rights violations to deliver Justice to all victims.
In Kaduna, the panel is expected to look into allegations of extra-judicial killings, evaluate the evidence presented, draw a conclusion as to the validity of complaints, and receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related recommend compensation and other remedial measures.
The panel, which is made up of representatives of civil society, students, youths, the National Human Rights Commission and the office of the Attorney-General of the State, is expected to conduct its assignment and submit its report within a maximum period of six months unless the panel shows convincing reasons why the Governor would approve an extension of time.
Intimating the citizens on how to lodge their complaints, Chairman of the Panel, Justice David S Wyom (retd) hinted that, after series of meetings, the Panel resolved to call persons with complaints to forward written sworn submission to the panel through the Ministry of Justice Zonal office in Zaria for Zone one, Department of Citizens Right Ministry of Justice, the Panel Secretariat at Gen Hassan Usman Katsina House, Kawo and the Human Rights Commission Zonal office Kaduna for Zone two while zone three should approach Ministry of Justice zonal office Kafanchan.
‘All the 23 secretaries to local government across the state are to serve as submission points.
“It was also resolved that all petitions/memoranda were to be submitted on or before November 25, 2020. However, due to logistic problems, we felt there was the need to extend the time frame for submission to January 29, 2021.
‘A total number of 29 petitions have been filed before this panel. Public hearing/sitting of this panel shall be conducted at the Banquet of State House on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays every week unless otherwise directed by the Chairman.
‘This panel will strictly uphold the tenets of fair hearing to all persons or groups appearing before it.
“The public sitting/hearing shall commence on January 5, 2021, at 10 a.m in the banquet Hall and shall remain so in subsequent sittings/hearing unless otherwise directed,’ he said.