Six weeks after the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, inaugurated the state’s Judicial Panel of Inquiry to look into cases of police brutalities by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units against citizens, no single sitting and cases have been heard.
During the nationwide #EndSARS protest against police brutality, the government reached some concessions with the protesters.
One of such concessions was the setting up of judicial panels of inquiry by state governments to look into cases of alleged violations of human rights by SARS ,now disbanded, and other units of the police.
The six southwest states swiftly inaugurated their panels of inquiry based on the directive of the federal government.
While this newspaper has consistently reported how cases are being treated in Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo, no case has been heard in Oyo State, despite being one of the hot spots of the protest.
On November 10, Mr Makinde inaugurated a panel made up of 11 members selected from the legal circle, the National Human Rights Commission, the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP), the National Youth Council of Nigeria, youth representatives of #EndSARS protesters and the community.
The panel is led by a retired judge, Bolajoko Adeniji.
Speaking at the inauguration, the governor encouraged all citizens of the state to report their cases with the assurance that all matters would be treated justly.
“I encouraged anyone who has faced human rights abuse in the hands of any of the security forces to use this opportunity to seek justice. I also stated that those responsible for the deaths of Isiaka Jimoh, Ganiyu Moshood Alabi, and Adeoye Taiwo would be brought to book”, he said then.
Mr Jimoh was a 23-year-old resident of Ogbomosho, and student of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) in Oyo State, who was shot dead by security operatives during protest on October 10.
The uproar that followed his death led to the death of two others namely Mr Alabi amd Mr Taiwo.
Panel not sitting?
The failure of the panel to hold any sitting has generated kerfuffle on social media. Many citizens of the state have taken to Twitter to question Mr Makinde about the refusal of the panel to hear cases of abuse.
A twitter user @savvyrinu said, “Seyi Makinde, what’s happening with the Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry?@seyiamakinde !”
Another user posted that “Oyo state, do we still remember Jimoh Isiaq, some of us haven’t forgotten him Oyo State Judicial Panel Seyi Makinde. Regardless #JimohIsiaq Lives on”
Oyo state, do we still remember Jimoh Isiaq, some of us haven’t forgotten him
Oyo State Judicial Panel?
— Tobi Adisa (@deedukee1) December 21, 2020
Akin Akinwale wrote that: “The EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry in Oyo State no get venue, not to talk of say dem go start. When they start, I will be there LIVE.”
The EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry in Oyo State no get venue, not to talk of say dem go start.
When they start, I will be there LIVE.
— Akin Akinwale (@mrlurvy) December 19, 2020
Some other tweets that questioned the refusal of the panel to sit are as follows:
Nobody is talking about seeking for justice for the victims of #PoliceBrutality in Oyo State. The judicial panel of inquiry set up by Seyi Makinde hasn’t sat for one since it’s inauguration. Or the #EndSARS protest is meant for selected states?
— Adetola A. Kehinde (IGBOMINA) (@Optimistic_Ade) December 19, 2020
Oyo State, the only state in the southwest without active Judicial Panel for Police Brutality. He inaugurated them for picture ops and then quietly disband them.
Seyi Makinde is a scam. He is fake
— Gen. Abiola The Patriot (@Abioolah) December 24, 2020
For your mind now u don carry me join other side of the political divide, If to say all of una gree repair Nigeria common sense for tell you say no be every tweet be opposition. U kuku no disguise, your werey loud baba oja
— pharisee (@Pharise93959504) December 22, 2020
Matter Arising, just wondering why our media aren’t pushing for justice for the victims of #EndSARS Police Brutality in Oyo State. The judicial panel of inquiry set up by Gov Seyi Makinde hasn’t sat for once since its inauguration unlike some other states. Any reasonable reason?
— Uncle Deji (@DejiAdesogan) December 20, 2020
Oyo state Judicial panel of inquiry haven’t started sitting, from a
If it’s going to be a permanent thing to be addressing past and FUTURE police brutality cases, then seyi is delaying things
— The Common Sense President! (@solarababa) December 24, 2020
This newspaper on Thursday contacted Mr Makinde to speak on why Oyo is the only southwest state yet to hear any case six weeks after inauguration.
The governor’s spokesperson, Taiwo Adisa, told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview that the panel is conducting preliminary investigations into the record of alleged atrocities.
“Because the panel has not advertised its sitting does not mean it is not sitting. The panel is currently conducting preliminary investigations into the record of alleged atrocities.”
“The panel need to go through all case files so they can flow in the open court. They have started working, analysing case by case and alleged authorities submitted to them. When they are ready to the open call, you will know.”
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