The Osun State Judicial Panel of Inquiry looking into cases of police brutality and other human rights violations by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units held its first sitting Thursday.
The sitting, which was chaired by Akin Oladimeji, a retired High Court judge, heard five cases which were all adjourned.
In his opening speech, Mr Oladimeji urged all parties who are going to present petitions and defences before the panel to bring all facts and evidence in support of their cases.
“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 also enjoined people to erase the mindset that the panel will be partisan.
“Remove the impression, if you have, that this panel is a set up and a disguise by the government which is a common notion in Nigeria. My humble self is not a politician. I have never been in politics. I am a priest, I always love to do justice. You can repose good confidence with us.”
“We are here to protect the interest of every party who has suffered injury in the hands of SARS, including the dead on whose behalf petitions were filed by their Legal or personal representatives. We are prepared to visit locus in cuo, i.e. places of incidents including mortuaries, graves and graveyards or suspected ones, if need be.”
“Members of the panel are men and women of very high integrity. We have taken oath before God and man to do justice to all and so, we assure you that no one will come before us and go away without getting justice. We are representatives of God in this assignment and in fact in all cases.”
While all cases called today were adjourned, the panel will again sit on Saturday to hear more cases, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
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