Tope Temokun, a legal practitioner, has called upon the Ondo state government to make public a panel report addressing instances of police brutality.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Temokun expressed concern that, two years after the establishment of an investigative panel to probe police misconduct in Ondo, the report has not been disclosed or acted upon, despite being submitted to Rotimi Akeredolu, the Governor of Ondo, on April 28, 2021.
Temokun urged the Ondo state government to promptly release the report and implement the recommendations it contains.
The lawyer revealed that the panel received 77 petitions from individuals who had been victims of police brutality and recommended the payment of N755 million in compensation to these victims.
He emphasized that the eight-member judicial panel of inquiry, presided over by Adesola Sidiq, a retired judge, which was established on October 20, 2020, didn't just suggest monetary compensation but also called for the publication of apologies in national newspapers in deserving cases.
"It was an extensive and well-structured report that would serve the cause of justice if it were made public. Regrettably, three years later, the report remains undisclosed and unimplemented," he stated.
"Victims approached the panel with great expectations. Under Ondo State's Commission of Inquiry Law, the Governor has a legal obligation following the receipt of reports from such commissions. The law isn't a trivial matter, and establishing such a substantial endeavor through the law is no small matter either. The Governor's responsibility is a serious one and doesn't encompass withholding or concealing the report. It includes the release of the report to the public."
Temokun deemed the failure to release the panel report as "unlawful, unethical, and a grave injustice against humanity."
He emphasized that the objective of the panel report was to ensure that justice was served to victims of police brutality, extrajudicial killings, and infringements on the fundamental rights of the populace.
Temokun warned that if the government did not act, he would resort to legal action to compel the release of the report.
In the wake of the #EndSARS protests against police brutality in October 2020, the National Executive Council (NEC) directed all state governments to establish inquiry panels to investigate widespread allegations of abuse. Subsequently, various states inaugurated these panels.
While some states have made their reports public and implemented recommendations, many others have yet to do so.