EndSARS: Enugu Panel of Inquiry calls for volunteer psychologists

November 17, 2020
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THE Enugu Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality and extra-judicial killings on Monday appealed for volunteer Clinical Psychologists who would provide counselling to victims and observers as the panel commence hearing of petitions on Monday, November 23, 2020.

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, had on October, 21 2020, inaugurated an 8-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry which was constituted by his administration to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality and/or related extra judicial killings in the state.

During the Inaugural sitting of the panel on Monday, at the State High Court 3, the Chairman of the panel, Hon. Justice Kingsley Ude (retd), said the request for volunteer Psychologists and Clinical Psychologists during the hearing petitions/complaint was expedient because of psychological trauma horrible experiences that would narrated would cause both for the victims and observers.

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Justice Ude, disclosed that time for submission of petitions to the panel which was initially selected to end by November 20, 2020, have been extended till February, 2021 to ensure that nobody will be shut out.      

Panel chairman, said the panel had agreed to the suggestion of the State Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Jude Ezegwi, that the list of all the cases and the table for hearing them be published to enable the petitioners know when to appear before the panel. This followed the absence of the petitioners during the inaugural sitting.

Justice Ude (Rtd) also announced that 30 petitions has been received so far by the Enugu Division alone as they are yet to ascertain the numbers collected by other Divisions, six of them that are also accepting petitions.

Furthermore, the Chairman of the Panel said that since there was no dedicated Court for their sittings, they will be sitting on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“So far we have gotten 30 memos and we are sure that outpost of other judicial locations that we are yet to collect the once they have received; and dependent on what we see, if we have a lot of cases from outside Enugu it means we will go to that judicial location to sit as well for convenience.

“But again, of course as the coverage when we start hearing the horrible stories that will be coming out, we will plead for media sensitivity; we plead for everybody’s understanding. We hope that we are still talking for volunteer psychologists, clinical psychologists who can provide support because it is very important both for those in the table and also those who are the victims so that we have all it takes to support them as we read the whole experiences.”

Speaking to journalists shortly after the sitting, the Enugu NBA Chairman, Ezegwi, pledged support for the victims who may want legal representation, adding that a team of lawyers would be available to render free legal services to the victims and advised them to take the opportunity.

He disclosed that he suggested to the panel that “they should ensure that all the parties that are supposed to appear before them are properly served and give notices to those that submitted petitions,” which the panel accepted.

“I also pleaded with the panel not to throw out any petition on the grounds of technicality, poor grammar or presentation. The panel graciously agreed and assured that even if the petition is on one page or half page, it will be entertained.”

He also expressed confidence on the panel stressing that the members of the panel are; “People of impeccable character and by the end of day, I’m sure justice will be done.”

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