The Government of Ekiti State will on Monday, March 15, 2021, present monetary compensations to the first batch of beneficiaries following the recommendations of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Allegations of Human Rights Violations Against the Defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and Others, to the state government.
The panel was set-up following the directives of the Presidency to the effect that all state governments should set-up judicial panels to review allegations of human rights violations against members of the public by officials of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), and other security agencies. This development followed the #Endsars protests that occurred across the country in October 2020. The panel led by Retired Justice Cornelius Akintayo comprises representatives of youth groups, civil society, and other interested parties.
The Justice Cornelius Akintayo panel commenced seating in November 2020 and received petitions from 85 members of the public on various allegations of human rights violations. The petitioners were given the opportunity to present their grievances, with the necessary support systems provided such as interpreters for those who choose to speak in any of the native languages, as well as mental health counsellors for those who required such services to deal with the impact of recalling traumatic events.
According to the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olawale Fapohunda, “Government has accepted the interim recommendations of the panel in full. In addition to the award of compensations, the Government has taken deliberate actions to strengthen its access to justice institutions with a view to ensuring speedy and effective response to citizens complaints of human rights violations. Government is also participating actively in ongoing discussions on police reform.”
Ekiti state has been commended by a broad section of stakeholders on account of the professional, efficient, and humane approach that the Justice Cornelius Akintayo panel has discharged its mandate so far, supported by the Government of Ekiti state, the Ekiti State Command of the Nigeria Police Force, and other stakeholders.