Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State has received final reports from State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into allegations of Human Rights Violation Against Police Officers including officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other Persons.
The governor, while receiving the reports from the Chairman of the Panel, Justice C.I. Akintayo, gave assurance that his administration would implement the decisions of the panel to the letter.
The ceremony occurred at the conference hall of the Governor’s Office, Ado Ekiti, barely two months after the government had paid compensation to the first batch of 24 victims as recommended by the panel.
Fayemi noted that the outcome of the report was an opportunity for government to further strengthen its intervention in the promotion and protection of human rights in Ekiti State.
He added that the report would enable government to reassess current measures in place to prevent all forms of extra-judicial conduct by law enforcement agencies.
He said that it would also enable it to examine whether remedial measures currently in place within government structures were adequate, effective and efficient.
He promised to fast track payment of compensation to the 28 victims of police brutality, as recommended by the panel.
The governor announced the establishment of a Citizens Complaints Centre to allow residents of the state lodge complaints and grievances for necessary government interventions.
While acceding to the fact that human rights violations might always occur in law enforcement, the governor expressed readiness of his administration to always put machinery in motion to respond speedily to such violations when they occurred.
He used the opportunity to publicly apologise to all victims of rights violations in the state and hoped that the steps taken so far would ameliorate what they had 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 implementation process and ensure that it began immediately.
The committee was given four weeks to submit its report.
The governor said: “Our prompt payment of compensations to these victims is 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 Ado Ekiti Central Market (Oja-oba) facility.
He said this centre, when fully functional, would provide an additional place for citizens to report their complaints and grievances that would result in an immediate and appropriate government response.
Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Retired Justice Cornelius Akintayo, revealed that the panel received a total of 85 petitions.
He said that out of the petitions awards were given in 50 of the cases, involving various allegations ranging from loss of lives to physical injury, trauma and loss of property.
Akintayo commended the state government for the prompt payment of the first tranche of compensation to 24 beneficiaries to the tune of over N7 million before the panel concluded its assignment.
He expressed optimism that the remaining recommendations for 28 beneficiaries to the tune of N13.8 million would be addressed and paid soon.
The event were the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Biodun Oyebanji and the Head of Service, Mrs Peju Babafemi.
Others were Oba Adebanji Alabi, the Chairman, Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, the Alawe of Ilawe Ekiti, as well as Service Chiefs and other members of the panel.