The Osun State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into police brutality on Saturday held its inaugural sitting in Osogbo, the state capital.
The panel, which was inaugurated by Governor Gboyega Oyetola few weeks ago, is to address complaint by the people of the state on police brutality and abuse by the disbanded members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
In his inaugural speech, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Akin Oladimeji (rtd) promised the people of the state that justice will be done to every matter brought it, adding that the panel will be fair to all.
He said the panel has so far received five petitions from the public.
He said, “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.
“We seek the cooperation of lawyers who will be appearing before us to present, prosecute and defend cases on behalf of their clients to do so with all diligence and dispatch. We are very much aware that you are very busy or som busy, kindly take into consideration the very limited time this Panel has to wind up which is Six months from the date of inauguration of this Panel, part of which has been taken off by fourteen days due to late submission of petitions. We shall therefore not entertain unwarranted and frivolous applications for adjournments from any party or their counsel. It is a guiding rule of procedure of this Panel that, unless there are compelling reasons and circumstances, this panel will not entertain more than two adjournments, each of which shall not extend beyond fourteen days on each adjournment.
“We want to plead with members of the regular press, that, it is only what you hear and see that you should please report. We want to especially plead with the members of the unregulated media, that is the users of social media to please be conscious of their responsibilities and duties to the individuals here, the public, the nation and the world at large. We do not want to pick anyone for contempt. I plead with the press, both regular and unregulated not to further fuel embers of disunity of disaffection between the public and the police. Always remember that we shall always have the police with us, no matter how bad and sad the situation. We cannot adequately protect ourselves as we are not professionally trained to do so. It is the policemen that are so trained. I must not also fail to inform you all that the panel will not entertain any case in which the dispute is still pending before a Court of competent jurisdiction. If you have or intend to file such, you will have to file a notice of discontinuance in that court where the case is pending and evidence of discontinuance must be filed before the Panel.”
The retired judge appreciated the governor for finding them wanting for the assignment. He said the panel will be sitting on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
The panel has six months to submit its report.
EndSARS, Osun judicial panel of inquiry, Police brutality