By Patrick Obia and Rachel Idim
The Cross River State Judicial Panel on Police brutality and restitution says it will begin hearing cases from Friday after confirmation on who the defendant will be and who will take responsibility on the issue of compensation.
The seven man panel lef by a former Chief Judge of the High Court of Cross River State, Justice Micheal Edem, was inaugurated on October 19, 2020. And, at it’s first sitting on Wednesday, said it has to confirm whether it is the Nigerian Police Force or the Cross River State Government that will be the defendant in the cases brought before it.
The ceremony which held at the conference room of the State’s ministry of justice, attracted lawyers, rights activists and victims of police brutality who have filed petitions before the panel.
Slated for 10:00AM, the seating began about 10 minutes later with Justice Edem seated for about half an hour before other members who ran late.
In his address, Justice Edem charged the testifiers to be factual and get their statistics correct.
“We are here for a purpose and that purpose is to restore sanity in the Nigeria society. Get your facts and statistics correct, when you mislead the panel, you may be charged for contempt,” he said.
Justice Edem assured petitioners that justice will be done as they existed as an instrument of settling scores between the Government and then people.
According to him, every testifier will have 10 minutes with 39 petitions submitted so far.
Several lawyers spoke afterwards with Mr. Mba Ukweni, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria imploring the panel to do a good job as well as look for a way to ensure that police brutality is eradicated.
For Barrister James Ibor, there was need for the panel to accept petitions of brutality brought in against the military in the course of performing police duties.
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