Allege Taraba govt unwilling to support panel to tidy report
Claims untrue; we are yet to receive report — Taraba Govt
By Femi Bolaji
AS many states in the country continue to turn in their reports on findings on police brutality arising from the EndSARS protests, no fewer than 47 families of the victims of brutality have petitioned the Federal Government on the inexplicable delay of the panel’s work in Taraba State.
The victims expressed dismay that the state was deliberately slowing down the work so as to deny them their rightful compensation over the loss of their loved ones, a claim denied by the Taraba State Government, which claims it is yet to be availed with the findings. The victims said they were apprehensive that more than two months after the panel turned in its findings, nothing had been heard about the report.
The victims in a letter addressed to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and copied to the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, requested the Federal Government to intervene before it becomes too late to salvage the situation. The petition was signed by Ali Danladi, Osita Gabriel, Pius Nyado and John K. Yunana on behalf of the 47 victims. They also alleged that the state government was unwilling to support the panel to complete its work.
But responding, the Special Adviser to Governor Darius Ishaku on Media and Publicity, Bala Dan-Abu, dismissed the claims that the state government was unwilling to support the panel. The letter written to the Vice President by the petitioners, reads: “We are the 47 victims of police brutality in Taraba State that presented their petitions before the panel in Taraba State that sat for six months to hear and determine our petitions.
“We are compelled to communicate to your esteemed office directly concerning our plight as victims, because from all indications, the State government is unwilling to give the panel the needed financial support to make the report ready for onward transmission to the National Economic Council, which you are the chairman.
“We are aware of the directive that emanated from your esteemed office to state governments to submit the report, but despite the directive, the Taraba State government is yet to submit the report since the panel has completed public hearing of petitions on May 17, 2021.
“We are left with no option than to respectfully request for your intervention so that the state government can make the report ready to enable us to get compensation accordingly.
“Some of the victims have lost their lives, while some have been permanently incapacitated and in dire need of money for medical treatment. Three of the victims/petitioners whose conditions are severe have copies of their photographs attached for your kind consideration.”
When contacted, Special Adviser to Governor Ishaku on Media and Publicity said, the state government has done its part. “It is not true that the state government has not given financial support to the panel to do its job. The government has done its part but the report of the panel is yet to be received by the government. We can’t take action on what we have not received. The petitioners should also know that the government has been supportive of them by ensuring that they are heard and that was why the panel was set up.
“The government is sincere in its approach and we want everyone to be supportive,” the governor’s spokesman said.