By Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba; Rasaq Ibrahim, Ado-Ekiti and Kolade Adeyemi, Jos
A father, Christopher Ukpuru, on Monday told the Delta State Judicial Panel of Enquiry into Police Brutality and Extra-Judicial Killings that he has not seen his 31-year-old-son since he was arrested by the police on August 8 last year.
He told the panel sitting in Delta, the state capital, that he went round all stations in Asaba, the state capital, but could not find his son.
He said when he returned to the “A” Division, a police officer confirmed that his son was arrested, but refused to disclose his whereabouts.
Ukpuru said his son, who has been missing since then, was never involved in any criminal act.
The petitioner’s lawyer urged the panel to subpoena the officer who confirmed the arrest.
The panel chairman, Justice Celestina Ogisi (rtd.), adjourned to November 10.
In Ekiti State, the panel warned against fictitious petitions.
Its Chairman, Justice Cornelius Akintayo, said at the panel’s inaugural sitting in Ado-Ekiti that justice would be done.
He said anyone, including policemen, can file a petition.
Justice Akintayo said: “I want to sound a note of warning that it is a grievous offence to bring fictitious documents before this panel.
“The police too can get justice. The Commissioner of Police should tell his people that if any of them has suffered any damage or had his rights abridged, he should file his petition because we are all citizens.”
Commissioner of Police, Mr Babatunde Mobayo, urged the panel not to recommend punishment for any policeman who had been disciplined for any misdemeanour in the past, to avoid double jeopardy.
Plateau State’s panel pledged to be fair.
Its chairman, Justice Philomena Lot (Rtd), while speaking at the inauguration, called for petitions.
“We urge those with genuine complaints to come forward and file them before us, given the six months’ time-frame given to us by the state government,” he said.
Each complainant is required to submit 10 signed copies of the petition addressed to the chairman, with the name and address of the complainant, she said.
The panel in Ebonyi State has so far received five petitions.
Its chairman, Justice Alloy Nwankwo (rtd), speaking during the panel’s inaugural sitting in Abakaliki, the state capital, said the petitions were mainly against the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“We will commence hearing into the cases immediately and are presently serving all parties involved to avoid infringing on peoples’ rights.
“Our sitting days will be announced in due course and we seek the cooperation of everybody to effectively and efficiently discharge this assignment,” the immediate past Chief Judge said.