The Governor of Delta, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa stated on Friday that the state administration would do its utmost to help the relatives of victims of police brutality and state extermination.
He provided assurances on charges of police brutality and extrajudicial killers in the State in government houses in Asaba, while hearing the findings from the State Judicial Panel of Inquiry.
The governor noted that the panel’s conclusions were taken and implemented by his administration and asked the police to perceive the civil population as an intelligence partner rather than enemies.
He said the Executive Council will examine the recommendations and make as much justice as feasible.
He pointed out that no monetary settlement will bring lives lost and asked the police to be careful while dealing with human life at all times.
“We all are well conscious of the impact in our country of ENDSARS. It has opened a new chapter in our country’s history, when it was extremely evident that many of our people around the nation were silently suffering.
“Many of them had anguish, which was caused by the loss of loved ones or loved ones muffled by the police.
‘We resolved that all states should create judicial investigation panels of which the State of Delta was one,’ stated the governor, stemming from multiple stakeholders’ meetings.
He commended the Panel chairman and the members for their hard work in carrying out the task, adding that he is delighted that Delta grievances got out to the committee.
“I want you to be assured that the state governing council examines the proposals very urgently and that justice is done to the best of our ability as human beings.
“We can’t bring the dead living and a soul cannot purchase a sum of money. We will still do our best to show the family and victims our sympathy.
“It would help families recover because we accepted something was wrong and we must help them.
I pray that we will remain very civil as a people.
“Many police officers execute their job as it should be. But it’s regrettable that a few take legislation into their hands and treat persons they should protect as though they should not exist.
“They shouldn’t; human lives can only be formed via God. It is therefore vital to appreciate the life we cannot generate in as much as possible.
“I waited to see the report and I know how much our people had actually suffered before establishing the human rights complaints team in the hands of the security authorities.
“It’s not to break the police anyway, because we believe many of them are doing things there. In fact, we must find ways of strengthening them and encouraging them,” he said.
It was not unknown in Nigeria that a large number of police officers are operating under tough conditions, and sometimes without the necessary equipment to conduct their job efficiently.
He stressed, however, that such a condition does not allow people to misuse their offices.
“We so advise security agencies that are tending to give the Police and other agencies a poor name to refrain from doing so.
“I think it helps them obtain information when the police work with the civil class.
“We thus expect both the Government and the police itself to have a solid working relationship so that our nation may be better controlled, without the road to our people distrusting us,” the Governor declared.
Previously, Justice Celestina Ogisi (Retd), Chairman of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, presented the findings and thanked the Governor for finding the members worthy to serve.
She recalled that the panel was opened on 9 October 2020 in order that complaint of police brutality and extra judicial killing in the State might be received and investigated, evidence submitted evaluated, conclusions were made on the validity of the complaint(s) and compensation recommendations and other remedial measures were recommended.
She said that soon after the opening, the panel began working by inviting interested members of the public to submit reports and held public meetings at the Asaba and the Warri.
“The Panel received a total of 86 requests and 49 on merit, and 37 for various reasons.
“The Panel also received 10 petitions seeking the execution of judgements of several High State courts against the police for acts of police brutality and extrajudicial assassinations.
“The panel recommended paying compensation for different police and extrajudicial executions in the State of Delta to victims and/or their relatives.
‘All judgment debts against the Police which they have refused to comply to date have also been recommended for enforcement,’ stated Justice Ogisi. ”
The police have also underlined that they are intended to protect citizens’ rights and do not violate them habitually without being held accountable.
“Police should restrict themselves to their constitutional and legislative obligations in order to preserve life and property, and should not move beyond the scope of legislation.”