The Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by Governor Godwin Obaseki to look into cases of police brutality, human rights violations or allegations of extra-judicial killings by operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Edo State, on Thursday held its inaugural sitting receiving testimonies and evidence from victims of police brutality in the state.
The 22-man panel chaired by Hon. Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe is saddled with the responsibility of investigating claims of police brutality and recommending compensation for victims.
Testifying before the panel, Mr. Isaac Edoh said his son was arrested by the police in Auchi, Edo State in 2011 for kidnapping and was allegedly killed by the operatives who claimed he was shot by armed robbers on their way to Benin for interrogation.
Edoh said: “I saw my son last on 3rd of June 2011 and till date the whereabouts of my son is unknown to me as the police told me that my son was allegedly killed by armed robbers on their way to Benin City for further investigation.
“I find it difficult to believe because in the attack only my son was killed; no police officer was killed or injured. I asked them to give me his body if he is dead, but the police couldn’t present me with the body.”
Edoh said he appeared to the panel to get justice for his son, Issac Baba Edoh, who he doesn’t know if he is alive or dead.
Counsel to one of the victims, Barr. Festus Obijeko Uvie told the panel that one Corporal Ogundele brutalised his client, Sunday Akpan, and he lost the use of both ears.
The lawyer said his client, Akpan, was assaulted for over 30 minutes leading to his loss of hearing as well as speech difficulty, which resulted from his ordeal at the station following a domestic dispute with his wife, which was reported at the station.
“Sunday Akpan was brutalised on 28th of December 2019 at Ekiadolor Divisional Police Station and his life was never the same again. He has not been able to go to farm since, as he is a farmer. He had a domestic dispute with his wife, which was brought for settlement at the station. We have confidence in the panel to ensure we get justice,” he added.