EndSARS: Youth Representatives Resign From Anambra Panel Citing ‘Govt Nonchalance’
Five persons representing youths in the Anambra Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutalities, weekend, resigned from the panel due to what they called Gov Willie Obiano government’s nonchalant attitudes towards the agenda of the body.
Those that resigned are Chijioke Ifediora, Henry Ugwu, Osonwa Chukwuka, Ebelechukwu Ngini and Chibuike Obiwuzie. Mr Ifediora, while addressing newsmen in Awka, on behalf of others that resigned, said the inaction of the state government showed that the panel was not ready to implement its assignment.
According to him, the state government deliberately did not provide the panel with the logistics needed to function effectively, adding that the panel received over 250 pending petitions from the 310 submitted. He regretted that since the panel adjourned sitting last December, its activities had remained dormant. He also bemoaned the general perception of members of the public that the panel was conniving with the government to deny them the right to fair hearing.
Ifediora said in an open address to Gov Obiano that, “It is imperative to mention that Anambra State, under your watch and that of your predecessor, was the cynosure of police brutalities, extortion, and even extrajudicial killings in Nigeria. The notorious defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Awkuzu, and numerous other police outfits in Anambra State have become infamous around the world for outrageous, unconscionable, and iniquitous violations of the fundamental rights of Nigerians, including the right to life.
“We were impressed when the government promptly constituted the panel to investigate cases of police brutalities and recommend compensation to victims, among other points in its terms of reference. Sadly, the sittings of the panel were characterised by inefficiency and poor organisation because the state government failed woefully to adequately provide for logistics for anything at all involving the proceedings of the panel.
“We are however now convinced beyond peradventure that the Anambra State government has no regard for the victims of the many human rights violations by the police in the state. The government has totally ignored the panel, and has simply set up the panel to play to the gallery.
“Many victims and other interested stakeholders have been communicating the panel’s secretariat or its members in a bid to know why the panel is no longer sitting despite more than 250 petitions which have been unattended to. We firmly refuse to be pawns in the game of the government, so we hereby resign our appointments into the Anambra State Panel and completely dissociate ourselves from all the charade put up to give lip service to the plights of residents of Anambra State.”
Our correspondent recalls that the Obiano administration, while setting up the panel in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest, announced the release of N200m as compensation for victims whose cases were proven.