The Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has inaugurated a 17-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate allegations of extrajudicial killings and brutality by security agents in the state.
Speaking during the inauguration at Government House, Umuahia, the governor said that the panel’s terms of reference shall include investigating cases of extrajudicial killings by men and officers of the Police Force and those of other security agencies, from 2015 to date, investigate all forms of police brutality, extortion and intimidation from 2015 to date, ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the End SARS protest and other grievances associated to it,
According to him, other items include to examine the root causes of the hijack of the hitherto peaceful EndSARS protest by hoodlums and identify those involved as well as do all other things necessary to give effect to the terms of reference including but not limited to the recommendations to government on possible compensations to ascertained victims.
The governor also said that he expects the panel to turn in its report within 12 weeks, describing the turn of events of the End SARS protest as unfortunate in view of the collateral damage so caused on lives and properties in the State and urged the youths to refrain from further protesting on the issue as government has noted their demands and doing everything possible to address them.
He, however, condemned the wanton destruction of public infrastructures and private businesses in the state, stating that he would mobilize the youths in rebuilding the damaged infrastructure through direct labour initiative while the government funds it.
Speaking on behalf of the members, Chairman of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, Justice Sunday Imo, assured that the panel would carry out the assignment with all diligence, considering its importance to both the people and the government, and thanked the Governor for the opportunity to serve assuring that the panel will not fail the State.
Other members of the panel included; Nwakanma John, Daniel Chinagozi, Ariwa Zuby, Eric Ikwuagwu, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, Comrade John Emejor, Comrade Nnanna Nwafor, Mrs. Doris Ogala, Mr Uche Nwokocha, Mr Nkemjika Nnadozie, Mr Enyinnaya Standhope Nwigwe, Mrs Anastasia Uchenna, Mr. Ndubuaku Nwogu, Mr Steve Sylvanus, DSP Darlington Nwaojigba Rtd and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs Uzoamaka Ikonne who serves as Secretary to the panel.