By Ariwodola Idowu
The Ekiti Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Rights Violations by the Police, on Monday, warned those intending to submit petitions to ensure that incidents reported are factual and not contrived.
Justice Cornelius Adetayo, the Chairman of the panel, gave the warning at the maiden sitting of the panel in Ado Ekiti.
Adetayo said anyone found to be present fake documents before the panel would be treated as criminal.
He assured that the panel would dispense justice without fear or favour to all genuine petitioners, but stressed that they must be armed with proofs of their claims.
The chairman also advised policemen, who have suffered any form of violation or injustice, to file their petitions before the panel too.
“I want to sound a note of warning that it is a grievous offence to bring fictitious documents before this panel.
“As a fact finding panel, we will try and get to the roots of any issue brought before us, because we can not manufacture evidence for ourselves.
” People must be patient with us as we trash all issues. Whoever that is alleged will be invited to also defend himself in the spirit of fair hearing.
” At the right time, we will call all petitioners to come and testify as to the veracity of the documents presented and all their claims before this panel.
“Police too can get justice. The CP should tell his people that if any of them had suffered any damage or had his rights breached, he should file in his petition, because we are all citizens of this nation.
” There must be justice for all for Nigeria to have peace. We need all to get justice either as police or as members of the society or for the ones suffered by any member of the society from the police”, he said.
Also, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olawale Fapohunda clarified that setting up of the panel did not mean the Nigerian Police was on trial .
” Indeed this is not an inquisition into the Nigerian Police as an institution. It will be tragic if all officers of the Nigerian Police are tarred with the same brush.
” Our focus is to seek justice and where necessary, remedial measures for all of our people who have suffered injustice and violence and hold perpetrators to account. “
Fapohunda said government had taken a number of measures to enhance the workings of the panel.
He said that the Ministry of Justice was waiting and ready to take over and prosecute matters that may be referred to it for prosecution or compensation.
” We have also made available to the panel, the services of a wide range of medical services including mental health counselors.
” State Counsel from the Directorate of Citizens Rights and the office of the Public Defender will also be available through out the sittings of the panel to provide legal support and advise to indigent complainants.
” It is our hope that the panel will give succor to as many that come here in search of justice and accountability”, the commissioner said.
Thereafter, the panel adjourned sitting until Nov. 5, to start hearing petitions.