Panel on Police brutality begins sitting in Ogun as victims narrate ordeals - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE


Thursday, 5 November 2020

Panel on Police brutality begins sitting in Ogun as victims narrate ordeals

By Lola Badejo

The panel set up by the state government to investigate complaints of victims of police brutality, human rights violations and extra judicial killings by security operatives within the state began it's sitting yesterday with victims by of police brutality narrating their ordeals.

In one of the cases heard yesterday, a victim of police brutality, Ganiu Kamol told the Ogun State Judicial Panel of Investigation how "unknown" police officers shot him in the leg and crippled him.

Ganiu who gave evidence before the panel sitting at the Magistrate court, Isabo, Abeokuta, the state capital, said he was shot in the leg by unknown police officers of the Ogun state Police Command attached to the Ibara Divisional Police headquarters in Abeokuta on July 17, 2018.

The petitioner said after being shot, his mother and brother were detained by the then Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Ibara division, CSP Bolaji Oluwasegun.

He alleged that the DPO refused to produce the officer that fired the shot and also prevented the hospital from treating him.

Ganiu narrated his ordeal with the police, saying he was hit by the police stray bullet while he was driving at 3am around Ibara area of the state.

According to him, the bullet hit him on his right leg and came out to brace the second leg.

Ganiu said, "When I was hit by the bullet, I managed to drive to the hospital for treating where my mother and my brother were told that they would not treat me without a police report.

"My brother and mother went to Ibara police station to obtain the report but they were detained by the police instead.

"My car was also seized and later released to my family on July 31, 2018 after paying N50,000.

"They accused me of being an armed robber but after several hours of persuasion, they gave them the report, but by the time they got to the hospital my condition had detolerated.

"After the incident, I spent one year and two months on the hospital bed. I lost everything during the period.

"Early this year, the police from the command headquarters offered my family N250,000 as settlement fee to forget about the case but my family rejected it.

The Chairman of the panel, Justice Solomon Olugbemi (rtd) adjourned the matter till Monday, July 9 for further hearing.

Speaking earlier, Justice Olugbemi insisted that the panel was not set out to witch hunt any security operative, but to ensure equity, fairness and justice to all parties involved.

Olugbemi warned against threat and intimidation of the petitioners, saying the panel has the powers to recommend anyone found culpable for trial.

He said "We will admit evidences that are relevant and at the end, we will make our recommendations. Nobody should have any fear at all. 

"Let me warn that no petitioner or witness should be threatened because we have powers under commission of Enquiry Law of Ogun State to recommend anyone who does that to be charged to the court. 

"So, nobody should be threatened and nobody should have the fears that anything would happen to him.

"Already, we have 40 petitions and we are expecting more." 

In his remarks, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Akingbolahan Adeniran expressed the government's commitment to ensure all victims get justice.

"The governor is particularly interested in the activities of this panel. He is ready to support the panel towards completion of the exercise," he said.