#EndSARS: Umahi decries police extortion, brutality in Ebonyi

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By Chukwuemeka Opara

Abakaliki, Oct. 19, 2020 Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi on Monday said the state government would no longer tolerate extortion and brutality on the people by police personnel in the state.

Umahi, who made the announcement at the old-Government House complex while addressing #EndSARS protesters, said that any form of road blocks would no longer be tolerated anywhere in the state.

The governor said that he would meet the state commissioner of police and the commandant of the military cantonment for the immediate enforcement of the order.

“We will only accept a situation where security personnel stay by the road side, stop and check any vehicle they suspect after which the person goes.

“Resist any policeman who asks you for money and call me on phone because enough is enough,” he said.

He urged the protesters to be mature in their protests and to conduct themselves peacefully, saying they had by their actions, achieved much for themselves, the state and the country.

“We will on Tuesday inaugurate a judicial panel of inquiry into police brutality, extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations.

“The panel will be headed by a high court judge and will consist of representatives of protesters, youth groups, students’ union, human rights group, state attorney general’s office among others.

“They will receive and investigate complaints of human rights abuses, evaluate evidences presented, draw conclusions on the validity of the claims, recommend compensations and other remedial measures.

“We will also set up victims support fund to compensate families affected by police brutality and other human rights violations while setting up a trust fund, under my watch, to pay the compensations,” he said.

Umahi promised to join the protesters in their ‘candle light’ procession for victims of police brutality on Monday night and also in their protest march on Tuesday.

“I am directing all tertiary institutions to resume academic activities on Oct. 21, and any lecturer who fails to turn up will be sacked,” he said.

The protesters, who insisted they did not have a leader, finally allowed Mr Stephen Ugamah to speak on their behalf.

Ugama listed their demands to include: investigation of activities of SARS in Ebonyi, police brutality, compensation for victims of SARS and police brutality and immediate release of all those detained by the police over the protests.

“We also want the harassment and extorton of Ekeaba police station investigated, activities of the local government area tax collectors among others,” he said.

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