The governor of plateau state Simon Bako Lalong has today Inaugurate the judicial panel of inquiry on police brutality and other killings in the state.
Making, in his remarks noted that this event has become necessary because of the current development in
Read the full remarks below
REMARKS BY H.E. SIMON BAKO LALONG, EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF PLATEAU STATE AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE JUDICIAL PANEL OF ENQUIRY ON POLICE BRUTALITY AND OTHER RELATED EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS IN PLATEAU STATE HELD AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE LITTLE RAYFIELD JOS ON 19TH OCTOBER 2020.
1. It is with great delight that I address you today at this very important event which is the inauguration of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality and other related extra judicial killings in Plateau State.
2. This very crucial event has become necessary because of the current developments in our nation occasioned by the ENDSARS movement which is a response to the complaints of alleged atrocities committed by some members of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria police against the citizens.
3. Let me first add my voice to the condemnation and genuine cry of the many Nigerians and indeed citizens of Plateau State who have suffered one form of humiliation, intimidation, harassment and loss as a result of the activities of bad elements within the disbanded SARS and other units of the police force.
4. Indeed such horrific stories have brought us to where we are today that the Federal Government dissolved SARS in response to the demand of protesters from various parts of the country. The protesters have presented a 5-point demand to the Government for the disbandment of SARS; Punishment of culprits; Compensation for victims; Setting of panels to investigate all atrocities and improving the welfare of the police.
5. It is in furtherance of the implementation of these demands that we are gathered here for the inauguration of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate complaints of police brutality and related extra judicial killings in Plateau State by SARS and other police units.
6. This Judicial Commission of Inquiry is to receive and hear complaints from all victims who have any complaint against the SARS and other police units with the view to ensuring that they obtain justice.
7. Accordingly, pursuant to Section 2(1) of the Commissions of Inquiry Law, Cap 25, Laws of Northern Nigeria, 1963 and by the powers vested in me, I have approved the constitution of a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to hear Complaints by Victims of Police Brutality and Other Related Extra-Judicial Killings in Plateau State.
8. The Membership is as follows:
(i) Justice Philomena Lot (Rtd.) – Chairman
(ii) CP Garba Patrick (Rtd.) – Member
(iii) Ezekiel Dauda Daschen – Member
(iv) Mrs. Rauta Dakok (Rep. Ministry of Justice)- Member
(v) Mrs. Kiyenpiya Mafuyai – Member
(Rep. of Human Rights
(vi) Dr. John Jinung – Representing Civil Society
(vii) Fatimah Suleiman – Representing Civil Society
(Viii) Mr. Cornelius Shiolbial – Perm Sec. Cabinet & Special Services (Secretary)
9. The terms of Reference of this panel are:
(i)To receive and investigate Complaints of Police Brutality
and related extra-Judicial Killings in the State.
(ii)To evaluate evidence and draw conclusions on validity of Complaints and,
(iii)To recommend Compensation and other remedial measures.
10. This Committee has Six (6) months to conclude its assignment and submit its.
11. With the setting up of this Judicial Panel of Inquiry, it is expected that all those who have any complaint of misconduct against any officer of the defunct SARS and other police units will channel their grievances to the Committee for investigation and further necessary action.
12. Let me therefore appeal to the protesters, particularly those who have cases, to vacate the streets and direct their energies towards the panel of inquiry in order to have their cases investigated so that they can obtain justice. That way, government will continue to address the other issues raised by the protesters as rapidly as possible.
13. At this point, I wish to commend majority of the protesters for their civil conduct during the protests. However, I want to draw their attention to the fact that the agitation is gradually being hijacked by miscreants who are taking advantage of the situation to commit crimes. Some citizens are already witnessing harassment from this category of people.
14. Government is willing to continue the process of dialogue and engagement with leaders and representatives of the protesters if and when they make themselves available, to further de-escalate the situation and ensure that their demands are met. I urge them to heed the voice of reason and resist being used by politicians and clandestine interests that are bent on undermining government and thereby testing its will.
15. Furthermore, the continued blocking of roads and denying other law abiding citizens access to their offices and business destinations is hurting the economy of the State and will at the end be counter-productive particularly now that we are trying to recover from the impact of COVID-19. Besides, this blockade is hampering access to other States since Plateau is a major transit route to other parts of the country.
16. Fellow citizens, these are difficult times that call for unity and understanding which is needed to enable us overcome the current challenges in our march to nationhood. We have to stand together and avoid any act that could jeopardize our collective existence and the future of our children.
17. I will also like to use this opportunity to correct the misconception asserting that the Northern Governors Forum under my leadership wants the return of the scrapped Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). This is far from the truth as there is no way the Northern Governors will call for the resurrection of an already scrapped SARS as approved by the President and announced by the Inspector General of Police.
18. Rather, what I and my colleagues have emphasized was the need for deeper and wholistic reform of the entire policing architecture in the country. We are of the opinion that despite the condemnable atrocities by some members of the dissolved SARS, there are some among them that were good and performed their duties diligently, and as such there should not be blanket condemnation.
19. What we also pointed out was the fact that some Northern States benefited significantly from the disbanded SARS in the fight against insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other violent crimes. I wish to reiterate my deep personal support for the agitation of a wholistic reform of the policing architecture which has commenced with the scrapping of SARS. As Governor, I will also continue to advocate for further reforms towards the rapid implementation of community policing for which I have strongly advocated for.
20. Finally, I call on all our citizens to remain vigilant and cooperate with government and security agencies to frustrate any attempt by individuals or groups to scuttle the substantial peace that we have been enjoying under the cover of ENDSARS protest or any other guise. Peace remains our cardinal goal and we will not compromise it.
21. For members of this judicial panel, I congratulate for your appointment to serve our State and the nation at this critical time. I challenge you to be thorough, diligent and fair to all those that will appear before you in order to ensure that justice is served to all parties without any bias.
[MEMBERS WILL RISE TO BE INAUGURATED]
22. On this note, it is my honour and privilege to inaugurate the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality and other related extra judicial killings in Plateau State. I wish you success in your assignment.
23. God bless Plateau State and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Rt. Hon. (Dr.) Simon Bako Lalong, KSGG.
Chairman, Northern Governors Forum
& Executive Governor, Plateau State
19th October 2020.
Photos; Josiah Jenvulu