By Patrick Obia and Rachel Idim
Cross River State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Police Brutality and Restitution has reconvened after twenty-two days of it’s last adjournment, it trashed eleven petitions and adjourns to March 4, 2021.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Micheal Edem (Rtd), in a brief speech said the panel is back for serious business; to do justice to petitions before it, as well as striking out any petition not deem fit.
The panel which started sitting on the November 11, 2020, like other juducial panels across the federation has a life span of six months to attend to issues of Police brutality and restitutions.
With over 50 petitions before it and just few weeks left to round up, the panel has adjourned over a dozen petitions for recommendations.
In a petition with suit no: JUD/PAN/INQ/012/2020 between Emmanuel Ebe Atah and the Inspector-General of Police. The wife of the petitioner Mrs. Vivian Atah who works with First Bank of Nigeria Plc, was called as one of the subpoena by the Police respondent. Upon narrating what transpired, the Chairman said it was a matrimonial issue which will be settled in an enclosed meeting while the petitioner’s petition on Police brutality will continue. Petition adjourned to 4th March, 2021, for continuation.
Also, in petition no: JUD/PAN/INQ/049/2020 between Senator Victor Ndoma -Egba (SAN) and the Inspector-General of Police. The Counsel to the petitioner, Ofem O. Ebang said “due to unavoidable circumstances the petitioner is unable to be here.” He disclosed that, the petition was filed against the Police on the vandalization that the petitioner suffered due to distress call that was neglected by the Police.
“The petition before this panel is as regards to the vandalization of Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba properties during the #EndSARS protest where all his properties were vandalized, stolen and damaged including cars.
“A petition was served before this panel for a proper investigation to be conducted and unravel those realities and today, we applied to the panel to adopt it as a written statement which we have filed for them to offer recommendations”.
He however stated that the petitioner do not need monetary compensations rather, an investigation to why the distress call was neglected and need for Police pro-activeness.
Furthermore, suit no JUD/PAN/INQ/050/2020 between Joseph Bassey Arikpo and the Inspector-General of Police. The Counsel, Ofem O. Ebang, Esq. informed the panel that the petitioner wishes to withdraw his petition on the grounds that he will take appropriate action in the regular court. The petition was thereby struck out.
Other petitions includes; JUD/PAN/INQ/037/2020 between Chief Cletus Agorye and the Inspector-General of Police. Chief Cletus Agorye, a retired Civil Servant who narrated that his two cousins were arrested, murdered and refused to release their corpsesl by the Police adding that, he does not know if their corpse are still there or not.
JUD/PAN/INQ/015/2020 between Mrs. Scholastica Ojeka and the Inspector-General of Police whose case is adjourned for recommendation.
JUD/PAN/INQ/025/2020 between Emmanuel Unah and the Inspector-General of Police, though the petitioner and his counsel were absent, the Chairman adjourned the petition for recommendation.
JUD/PAN/054/2020 between Evang. Queeneth A. Madestrong and the Inspector-General of Police. The counsel to the petitioner Barr. P. Arikpo apologised for the absence of the petitioner who could not make it due to severe stomach ache and applied for recommendation as the matter is already in court. Petition was adjourned for recommendation.
JUD/PAN/INQ/038/2020 between Mrs. Uduak Joshua Edet and the Inspector-General of Police. Mrs. Edet a patent medicine dealer who resides in Awi Akampa LGA, in Cross River State, narrated her ordeal in the hands of the Police which led to miscarriage and lost of three months pregnancy after being arrested and detained on the 23 of March 2020. Petition was adjourned for recommendation by the panel.
Also, petition no JUD/PAN/INQ/055/2020 between Mrs. Iqua Edet Nakanda and the Inspector-General of Police was adjourned to 4th March 2021 for defence.
Further adjournments are: petition number JUD/PAN/INQ/044/2020 between Ndifon Ayiba Ejiji and the Inspector-General of Police which was adjourned for recommendation as the petition was already determine by court of competent jurisdiction and judgment determined says the counsel.
Similarly petition number JUD/PAN/INQ/040/2020 between Prince Francis Adam Ephraim and the Inspector-General of Police was further adjourned to 4th March 2021 to produce his subpoena.
Of fourteen petitions mapped for the day, eleven were treated with three adjourned to March 4th, 2021, for defence and continuation.
See pictures below.