Youth representatives of the Anambra State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality and Extrajudicial Killing have resigned, citing indifference and nonchalant attitude to the panel by the state government.
The representatives of the youths, Ifediora Chijioke Esq, Henry Chibuike Ugwu Esq., Mr. Osonwa Chukwuka, Comr. Ebelechukwu Ngini, Comr. Kas Chibuike Obiwuzie who addressed a press conference in Awka on Sunday said they were compelled to resign from the panel because the government has shown that it does not have the interest of those killed and brutalised by the police at heart.
Reading an open letter to the Anambra State governor, the youth panel members said young people in the state now believe they have been compromised, such that they find it difficult to walk freely on the streets.
They alleged that despite the accusations, the state government provided nothing at all to ensure that the panel continues sitting, ”not even a monthly allowance that it promised earlier”.
They told the governor that, “It is imperative to mention that Anambra State, under your watch and that of your predecessor, was the cynosure of Police brutality, extortion, and even extrajudicial killings in Nigeria.
“The notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Awkuzu and numerous other Police outfits in Anambra State have become infamous around the world for outrageous, unconscionable, and iniquitous violations of the fundamental rights of Nigerians, including the right to life.
“We were impressed when the government constituted the panel to investigate cases of police brutality and recommend compensation to victims among other points in its terms of reference.
“Sadly, the sittings of the panel has been characterized by inefficiency and poor organization because the Anambra State Government failed woefully to adequately provide for logistics for anything at all involving the proceedings of the panel. There was no funding to enhance clerical or secretarial functions of the panel, no provision for security or witness protection.”
They lamented that even though the Anambra panel received the highest number of petitions (310) against the Police in Nigeria, the state government failed woefully in supporting the panel to discharge the duty.
“We are, however, now convinced beyond peradventure that the Anambra State Government has no regard for the victims of the many human rights violations by the Police in the State. The government has totally ignored the panel and had simply set up the panel to play to the gallery.
“Many victims of abuse of police powers and other interested stakeholders have been communicating the panel’s secretariat or its members in a bid to know why the panel is no longer sitting despite more than 250 petitions which have been unattended to.
“All these inquiries have failed to yield concrete answers and the government despite being aware of the interest of the public is showing no signs of interest in the activities of the panel. We firmly refuse to be pawns in the game of the Government, so we hereby resign our appointments into the Anambra State Panel and completely dissociate ourselves from all the charade,” they said.
The youths also added that their resignation does not mean that it would ignore the proceedings of the panel, as they gave Anambra State government two weeks ultimatum to fulfil all conditions to reconvene the panel, saying that failure to do so, will result in street protests.