Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
The Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, has extended the 24-hour curfew that was imposed in all parts of the State earlier in the week till Monday, 26th of October to enable security agencies restore law and order in the state as well as guarantee the security of lives and property of the people.
This, he said became necessary in order to forestall unwholesome conduct of some miscreants who capitalised on the ENDSARS protests to perpetrate criminal acts including robbing, killing and destruction of public and private properties.
Governor Fayemi disclosed this on Thursday while inaugurating members of Ekiti State Judicial Panel of Enquiry into Allegations of Human Rights Violations Against Police Officers, including SARS Operatives at the Governor’s Office, Ado-Ekiti.
The Governor also announced the establishment of a Victims Compensation Fund to enable speedy payment of monetary compensation to deserving victims. This, according to him would enable the panel respond appropriately to the urgent needs of victims of rights violations.
Governor Fayemi, at the brief event, also apologised to victims of the ENDSARS protests in the state and assured the people of the state that his government would continue to take deliberate measures to protect lives and property.
Fayemi said his administration would not tolerate criminalisation of young people in the State, adding that thorough investigation into cases of brutalisation of innocent citizens during the course of the protests would also be carried out and promptly acted upon.
He said: “In the meantime the existing curfew announced by the State Government on Tuesday October 20, 2020 is further extended until Monday October 26, 2020.
“It is important that I emphasized that this curfew is not aimed at abusing the rights of our citizens or make life difficult for the people but to enable government carry out its main responsibility of guaranteeing the security of lives and properties of our citizens.”
The inauguration of the Judicial Panel, chaired by a retired Judge, Justice Cornelius Akintayo, according to the Governor was the first step by his administration to demonstrate commitment to the concerns of ENDSARS protesters, adding that the panel would avail them the opportunity to speak openly about underlying issues of the agitations.
Other members of the panel include Mr Dipo Ayeni (Rtd Commissioner of Police); Mrs Yetunde Kolawole, State Counsel (representing the Honourable Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice); Mrs Kikelomo Owolabi (Chairperson, Nigerian Bar Association, Ikere Ekiti Branch); Mr Rotimi Ojomoyela (Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists, Ekiti State Council); Mr Jamiu Adigun (Representative, National Human Rights Commission); Mr Adeyinka Opaleke (Representative, Legal Aid Council of Nigeria); Mr Akin Rotimi; Ms Caroline Fakinlede (Ekiti State Youths Representative); Ms Omowumi Deborah (Youth Representative); Mr Asiwaju Oladimeji (Youth Representative) and Mr Abiola Johnson-Ogunleye (Ekiti State Students Representative).
Fayemi listed the terms of reference of the panel to include receiving and investigating complaints of police brutality or other related extra-judicial killings.
The panel, amongst others, is expected to receive and investigate complaints of violence against individuals, police officers and other members of the security agencies in every part of Ekiti State in the course of the protest. It would also evaluate evidence presented and other surrounding circumstances in other to draw conclusions on the validity of the complaints received.
Fayemi who said the panel had six months to carry out their assignment, added that they were expected to recommend compensation and other remedial measures where appropriate.
He also disclosed that the Chairman of the panel would provide monthly briefings to the Honourable Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Hon Wale Fapohunda to further enhance the speedy consideration of all complaints.
He said: “The inauguration of this Ekiti State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Allegations of Human Rights Violation against Police Officers including Officer of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other person is an important first step in responding to the concern from ENDSARS protesters.
“We have deliberately selected members of the panel to reflect our peculiar situation in Ekiti State. It is no coincidence that we have a large number of youth representatives on the panel. It is to provide an opportunity for our youth population to have better understanding of the workings of our justice Institutions.
“It is our expectation that this Judicial panel will give them an opportunity to speak openly about their experience to enable us have a better understanding of the depth of the problem and most importantly find a sustainable solution.”
The Governor further urged community leaders across the state to appeal to youth groups in their communities to give peace a chance and let government commence the process of responding to all the issues that have been subject of the agitations.