Paul Osuyi, Asaba
A distraught father, Christopher Ukpuru on Monday told the Delta State Judicial Panel of Enquiry into Police Brutality and Extra-Judicial Killings sitting in Asaba that he was yet to see his 31-year old son, Counsellor, since August 8, 2019 when he was allegedly arrested by the police.
Mr. Ukpuru told the panel which began sitting on Monday that he received a call while at work, that his son was arrested, and that he quickly took permission from work to locate the police station he was being held.
Ukpuru said he went round all stations in Asaba but could not find his son, adding that when he went back to “A” Division, a friend of his who is a police officer confirmed that the son was indeed arrested.
He said the police officer friend who pleaded to have his identity concealed, refused to disclose his son’s whereabouts.
Ukpuru said since then, he has neither seen nor heard from his arrested son, insisting that his son has never be involved in any criminal act since he was born over three decades ago.
Counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Inang who examined his client under oath, made oral application for the panel to subpoena the said police officer friend at “A” Division with a view to eliciting more information from him.
The panel chairman, Justice Celestina Ogisi (rtd.) adjourned further hearing on the petition to November 10. The panel also adjourned proceedings to November 4.
In her inaugural address, Justice Ogisi said the panel was constituted to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra-judicial killings committed within Delta State with a view to ascertaining their validity or otherwise.
Ogisi added that the panel which has a period of three months for the assignment, would also recommend compensation or other remedies appropriate for each case.
The panel chairman however decried the poor response from the public despite several advertorials issued calling for memoranda from interested members of the public who are victims of police brutality or extra-judicial killings.
Nevertheless, she solicited the cooperation of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) branches in the state to assist in making their services available on pro bono basis to victims who in most cases are indigent in preparation of their memoranda before the panel.
“Other civil society groups and non-government agencies can also step in and provide the necessary assistance,” Justice Ogisi added.
Ogisi announced that memoranda can also be submitted at the zonal offices of the state Ministry of Justice in Warri, Effurun, Kwale, Agbor, Ozoro, Ughelli and Sapele.