The Osun State Judicial Panel set up to investigate allegations of brutality, human rights violations and related extra judicial killings leveled against Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of Nigeria Police Force has began hearing of various petitions and submissions brought before it by members of the public, saying plans had been concluded to ensure fair process.
The panel, which commenced hearing with five different petitions submitted by victims of police brutality and other human rights violations, said that in ensuring justice, plans are underway to visit places of incidents including mortuaries, graves and graveyards, among other notable places for necessary evidence.
The panel Chairman, Justice Akin Oladimeji (retired), said that the panel had since its inauguration received five petitions and submissions from members of the public, adding that the panel was fully prepared to deliver the statutory mandate conferred on it to ensure justice, fairness and equity in all the cases before it.
Delivering his inaugural sitting speech at the Council of Obas’ Chamber, Finance Building, Government Secretariat, Osogbo, Oladimeji explained that mandate of the panel was to investigate SARS brutality against some members of the public, adding that the panel would not act as a regular court of law.
“This panel is not a regular court of law where law is strictly applied to cases but rather, a fact finding panel. Therefore, it is the duty of every petitioner and in fact all parties who present petitions and defense before this panel to bring all facts and evidence in support of their cases before the panel.
“We are neither prophets nor seers that can see what the ordinary eyes cannot perceive. Every petitioner who has suffered injury or loss wants damages or compensation to be paid to him. This panel is empowered to make recommendation on award of such damages or compensation but we cannot do so unless you come and demonstrate to us how and where you sustained injury or loss.
“It is the fact and evidence that you place before us that we must use to assess the injury victims have suffered in the hands of SARS in each of the cases, and the damages claimed by the petitioners or any other parties as the case may be.
“These are the things that will assist us in our duties, so that we will not therefore appear to be awarding arbitrarily low or high damages or compensation in the eye of the reasonable man”, he added.
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