By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Cases of extra-judicial killings by security operatives shocked members of the Judicial Panel of Investigation on incidents of police brutality and other human rights violation in Akwa Ibom State as the Panel began sitting in Uyo, the capital on Monday.
These incidences were among the 92 petitions received by the Panel from members of the public alleging various offences committed against either the petitioners or their relations by those described as desperate policemen in the state.
Recall that Akwa Ibom State Government had on October 20, 2020 inaugurated a Judicial Panel to investigate complaints of police brutality, human rights violations, and related extra judicial killings in the State, as reaction to the nationwide EndSars protest.
At the inaugural sitting at High Court 8, FULGA road, Akpan Akpa Udo street, off Ikot Ekpene road, the Panel announced receipt of 92 cases, mentioned eight and considered two pathetic cases of brutal killing presented by counsels to the victims.
The first case involved the alleged murder of one Alade Jonathan Farojoye – a fisherman and Pastor with Deeper Life Bible Church who was allegedly murdered by the police at Iwoukpom, Ibeno Local Government Area of Alwa Ibom State..
The second case considered by the judiciary panel was on the alleged killing of one Mr Augustine Effiong, a taxi driver, by men of Special Anti-robbery Squard, SARS.
The late Effiong, as the case revealed was until his arrest and subsequent death in police custody, plying Uyo- Eket route as taxi driver.
Counsels to the victims further revealed to the panel that corpses of both Farojoye who was allegedly killed in September 2017 and Effiong whose life was also ended in October 2019 were yet to be released to their families for burial, despite several appeals to the police.
A total of 8 petitions were mentioned at the inaugural sitting, including petitions from Obong Paul Etim Ekpo, Beautrice Abosede Osaniya, Esara Victor Umoh, among others.
Chairman of the Judicial Panel of Investigation, Justice Ifiok Ukana in his remarks assured that the Panel was determined to ensure fair hearing to all parties involved.
The Panel, according to Justice Ukana will make recommendations to the State Government and where necessary direct the State Attorney General to ensure that those culpable are prosecuted and compensation given to families of victims. He pledged for an accelerated hearing of all petitions.
In the meantime, the Panel has ordered that copies of the petitions be served on all parties involved while summons have also been issued to them to appear before it.
The Judicial Panel has also extended time for submission of memoranda by 7days, beginning from Tuesday, November 17 in the interest of justice.
The Panel therefore, urged members of the public to use the extension of time to submit their petitions.