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.
Chairman of the panel is Justice Sunday Imo, a retired Chief Judge of the State.
Inaugurating the panel at Government House, Umuahia, Governor Ikpeazu 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 #EndSARS protest and other grievances associated to it,
Other terms 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 governanment on possible compensations to ascertained victims.
According to the Governor, he expects the panel to turn in its report within 12 weeks, describing the turn of events of the #EndSARS 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.
Governor Ikpeazu who also regretted the wantom destruction of public infrastructure and private businesses in the State, pointed out that he would mobilize the youths in rebuilding the damaged infrastructure through direct labour initiative while the government funds it.
Other members of the panel include 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.
Responding 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 deligence 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.
Meanwhile, Governor Ikpeazu has distributed palliative materials to some displaced families who were affected by the disturbances. The materials include rice, noddles, vegetable oil and cash.
Speaking during the presentation In Aba, Governor Ikpeazu prayed that the state never experiences the high level of destruction orchestrated by its own people during peace time and pleaded with parents to persuade their wards not to engage in acts of violence as a way of ventilating their grievances.