19th May, 2017
Benin City…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has commended the Edo state government for its swift reaction in setting up an investigative panel of enquiry into the remote and immediate causes of the inhuman treatment meted on a resident of Edo State by the Nigerian Police in Benin City, and want to suggest the inclusion of civil society members in the investigative panel.
‘’The Edo state government in taking the gauntlet in favour of the people has given notice that it did not make a promise to protect Edo citizens in vain. Governor Obaseki has shown readiness to promote the dignity and value of its people by its launch of this investigative panel of police brutality. What is particularly gratifying is the level of interest which the government has shown in setting up an investigative panel of inquiry into the many cases of human rights abuses in Edo state’, ANEEJ executive director, Rev David Ugolor, has said.
Edo people have been subject to various forms of police harassment and brutality. In April 2017, the police arrested three lecturers of the Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma on charges on belonging to cults, a charge which the university authority has challenged in court.
On May 14th, a video of a man chained to a police van surfaced, http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/more-news/231529-man-chained-to-police-patrol-van-a-fleeing-cultist-police-say.html, provoking an outcry from the Edo people against that incidence. In addition to this, there have been several undocumented instances of police brutality on drivers who refuse to part with the illegal levies which the police collect from them on major roads and parks.
‘’ANEEJ supports and commends the launch of this investigation by the Obaseki administration and suggest that the state government include CSOs and other stakeholders in the panel of investigation to promote the tenets of open governance for which Edo state is becoming very famous. Let a seasoned retired judge head the investigative panel so as to bring credibility and balance in the conduct of the hearing. Edo people seek a fair and egalitarian society which provides an enabling environment for justice and equity to thrive. With this investigative panel, remote and immediate causes of these human rights abuses would be unravelled and dealt with’, the Rev David Ugolor said.