BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Justice Akin Oladimeji (retd.), Chairman, Osun Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Police Brutality, Extortion and Extra-Judicial Killings perpetrated by men of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, has urged the Federal Government to make erring cops who brutalised innocent citizens responsible for the compensation of the victims.
Oladimeji recommended that the compensation should be deducted from the culprits’ salaries or gratuities so as to serve as a deterrent for others.
According to him, as much as the government continues to take responsibility for the damages caused by police personnel and other security agents, the nation may continue to witness a surge in brutality and extra-judicial killing.
In his address at the panel’s sitting in Osogbo, the former judge of the Osun State High Court, said, “I will have to ask the Federal Government to allow erring officers carry the burden of their excesses. When erring security agents know that the government would be responsible for compensation of victims of brutality and extra-judicial killing, they may not be able to learn their lessons.
“So, I want to advise the Federal Government to always deduct the compensation for victims of brutality directly from the culprits’ salaries or gratuities if we are to win this battle against brutality.”
“I will have to ask the Federal Government to allow erring officers carry the burden of their excesses. When erring security agents know that the government would be responsible for compensation of victims of brutality and extra-judicial killing, they may not be able to learn their lessons”
He commended Governor Adegboyega Oyetola for implementing the report of his committee, most especially, the financial obligation recommended to the government, despite the lean finance of the state.
Recall that the state government recently presented cheques of N53.3m to victims and family members of victims of police brutality as recommended by the panel.
The chairman of the panel expressed doubt on the hope of reimbursement to the state by the Federal Government as the police are under the control of the latter.
Oladimeji said, “I seriously doubt if the Federal Government is reimbursing the state government for the money it had doled out. Those who caused the trouble are the police, an agency of the Federal Government.
“Lagos State is the richest state in the country and they can decide to pay. Delta State is an oil-producing state, they can pay as much as they wish. But here, Osun State is at the lowest ebb of what comes in terms of allocation. The Internally Generated Revenue is so low but the governor is managing it very well. Even some of those oil-producing states still owe workers but the case is different here. So, I can say the governor deserves commendation.”
Osun became the third state to implement the report of the panel of inquiry constituted nationwide by states in respect of the #EndSARS protest that rocked the country in 2020. Osun paid next to Lagos and Delta States in accordance with the recommendations of the committees.