The judicial panel in Bayelsa State has awarded N21 billion as compensation to victims of police brutality.
The panel was inaugurated in October last year, following the #EndSARS protests across the country.
Chairman of the panel, Young Ogola, while submitting the report to the state governor, Douye Diri, said the panel received and addressed 50 petitions and made recommendations based on their findings.
Ogola said out of the 50 cases, 11 police officers were recommended for prosecution, one for dismissal, four for demotion, while eight cases were struck out and two adjourned.
He stated that the N21 billion was awarded as damages out of the 40 cases fully determined.
The chairman of the panel added that the amount included compensation to communities razed by the army.
Receiving the report, Diri thanked the panel for doing a thorough job and promised to set up a committee to look into the report, with a view to implementing its recommendations.
The governor, who was represented by Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, his deputy, said the state government will look for ways to bring relief to the victims and families within available resources.
“Although no amount of compensation can bring back some of the deceased, the compensation will ameliorate the suffering of the victims and families caused by the excesses of misguided security agents,” he said.
While acknowledging the enormous task of the security agencies to secure lives and property, Diri called on security personnel to act within the confines of the law.
“The panel was set up to get to the root of injustice, violation of human rights and the best way with which police and other security agencies in the country will discharge their duties professionally with a human face,” he said.
“The issues you have raised will be looked into. The N21 billion awarded is appropriate, but for the security agencies to pay is another thing.
“We will, within the limits of available resources and procedures, see how these victims will get a reprieve.
“While the law enforcement agencies have every day to protect lives and property, they also have a duty to do that within the confines of responsibility and protection of human rights of all citizens.”
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