Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, on Wednesday said the insecurity situation in the country has worsened despite the last year #EndSars protest.
The Governor lamented that the issues of banditry and kidnapping have snowballed into a worrisome situation.
Arakunrin Akeredolu spoke in his office, Alagbaka, Akure, while receiving the State’s Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality and Other Related Matters.
The 9-member panel was inaugurated by the Governor on October 20, 2020 to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra-judicial killings in the state among other terms of reference.
Governor Akeredolu said the #EndSars protest was a legitimate action by any standard, adding that it was later hijacked by hoodlums who were elements of destruction.
“No one can convince me that the organisers of the #EndSars protest were behind the destruction of properties in Akure South, Ondo West, Odigbo and Okitipupa.
“Setting my campaign office on fire could not have been #Endsars because, obviously, I am not a police officer. Also, setting the APC secretariat and the PDP secretariat on fire could not have been #EndSars,” Governor Akeredolu noted.
The Governor saluted members of the panel for doing a diligent job, saying receiving and hearing 77 petitions from public and private persons as well as bodies was a pointer to the fact that a serious job has been done.
He appreciated the Chairman of the panel, Hon. Justice Salisu Adesola Sidiq (Rtd), for his transparency and hard work.
Governor Akeredolu said the state government will offer apologies if it found out that any victim’s reputation has been damaged.
Earlier, the Chairman of the panel, Hon. Justice Sidiq, said out of the 77 petitions submitted, there are 14 criminal and 63 civil matters/petitions.
He said: “A disheartening aspect of our assignment bordered on human rights violation which dates as far back as 2003 and unfortunately remained unresolved until this Panel was set up.
“On the issue of vandalized properties, the panel, after various visits to the locus in quos, observed that four out of the 18 Local Government Areas of the State i.e. Akure South, Ondo West, Odigbo and Okitipupa were affected during the EndSARS protests. Petitioners’ claims as well as Panel’s recommendations have been tabulated.
“Apart from the monetary recommendations which totaled at the sum of N755, 730,897.88 (Seven Hundred and Fifty-Flve Million, Seven Hundred and Thirty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Ninety-Seven Naira, Eighty-Eight Kobo), the Panel equally recommended publication of apologies in national dailies particularly where the reputation of victims had been tarnished.
“Another issue which became thorny was on the cases which had been decided by Courts of competent jurisdiction, but were brought before the Panel for lack of payment of judgement debts.
“Mr. Governor Sir, the Panel, after careful consideration of its limitations in line with extant Supreme Court judgements on the powers of Panels of Inquiry to entertain res-judicata cases, suggests that it is high time a review is carried out on Section 84 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act, (2004) to enable judgement creditors enjoy the fruit of their litigations.”