Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi on Friday, received the final report from the State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into allegation of Human Rights Violation Against Police Officers including Officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other Persons with an assurance that his government would implement the decisions of the panel to the letter.
This came barely two months after the government paid compensation to the first batch of 24 victims as recommended by the panel.
The governor, while receiving the report from the Chairman of the Panel, Justice C.I. Akintayo at the conference hall of the Governor’s office, Ado – Ekiti, noted that the outcome of the report was an opportunity for the government to further strengthen its intervention in the promotion and protection of human rights in Ekiti State.
He added that the report would enable the government re-assess current measures in place to prevent all forms of extra-judicial conduct by law enforcement agencies and examine whether remedial measures that are currently in place within government structures are adequate, effective and efficient.
The Governor promised to fast track payment of compensation to the 28 victims of police brutality as recommended by the panel even as he announced the establishment of a Citizens Complaints Centre to allow citizens of the state lodge their complaints and grievances for necessary government intervention.
While acceding to the fact that human rights violations may always occur in law enforcement, the Governor expressed the readiness of his administration to always put machinery in motion to respond speedily to such violations when they occur.
Dr Fayemi used the opportunity to publicly apologize to all the victims of rights violations in the state and hoped that the steps taken so far would ameliorate what they have suffered psychologically and physically.
The Governor also constituted a 7-man implementation committee, headed by the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olawale Fapohunda to oversee the implementation process and ensure that it commences immediately. The committee was given four weeks to submit its report.
The Governor said: “Our prompt payment of compensations to these victims was borne out of our desire to ensure that they are given the opportunity to immediately begin to rebuild their lives. The cases of additional persons recommended for the award of compensation will also be given the same speedy consideration.
“Concerning the need for more visibility in public spaces, I am today pleased to announce the establishment of a Citizens Complaints Centre in the newly completed Oja-oba facility. This center, when fully functional, will provide an additional place for citizens to report their complaints and grievances that will result in an immediate and appropriate government response.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Justice Cornelius Akintayo (rtd) revealed that the panel received a total 85 petitions out of which awards were given in 50 of the cases involving various allegations ranging from loss of lives to physical injury, trauma and loss of property.
Justice Akintayo commended the state government for the prompt payment of the first tranche of compensation to 24 beneficiaries to the tune of over seven million naira before the panel concluded its assignment and hoped that the remaining recommendations to 28 beneficiaries to the tune of 13.8 million naira would be addressed and paid soon.
Also at the event were the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, the Head of Service, Mrs Peju Babafemi, the Chairman, Ekiti state Council of traditional rulers, the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, Oba Adebanji Alabi, the Service Chiefs and other members of the panel.