By Ihechinyere Chigemeri-Uwom
Umuahia, October 23, 2020 Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia on Friday inaugurated a 16-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate allegations of extra-judicial killings and brutality by security agents in the state.
Speaking during the ceremony at the Government House, Umuahia, Ikpeazu charged the panel to investigate cases of extrajudicial killings by the police and other security agents from 2015 to date.
The governor directed the panel to investigate all forms of police brutality, extortion and intimidation from 2015 to date, to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the EndSARS protest and other grievances associated with it.
He charged the panel to unravel the root causes of the hijack of the peaceful EndSARS protest by hoodlums and identify those involved in the nefarious activity.
Ikpeazu said that the panel was expected to submit its findings and recommendations within 12 weeks, urged the panel to give effect to the terms of reference outlined for its assignment.
He described the turn of events during the EndSARS protest as unfortunate considering the destruction of lives and property recorded during the protests.
Ikpeazu urged the youths in the state to restrain from further protests, adding that the state government had taken note of their demands and was making efforts to address them.
He said that the state government was currently looking at the demands of the youths with a view to meeting with them.
The governor said that the youth would be mobilised for rebuilding the damaged infrastructure through direct labour.
Responding on behalf of other members, the Chairman of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry, Justice Sunday Imo Rtd, pledged that the panel would work diligently considering the importance of the assignment.
Imo thanked the state government for the opportunity to serve the people of Abia and assured him that members of the panel would live up to expectation.
The members of the panel include: Mrs Uzoamaka Ikonne (Secretary), Mr John Nwakanma, Mr Daniel Chinagozi, Mr Zuby Ariwa, Mr Eric Ikwuagwu, Rev Sunday Onuoha and Mr John Emejor,
Others are Mr Nnanna Nwafor, Mrs Doris Ogala, Mrs Uche Nwokocha, Mr Nkemjika Nnadozie, Mr Enyinnaya Nwigwe, Mrs Anastasia Uchenna, Mr. Ndubuaku Nwogu, and Mr Steve Sylvanus.
In a related development, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia has directed the setting up of a committee to ascertain the level of damage to private and public infrastructure as a result of the recent protests.
Chief John Okiyi-Kalu made this known in a press statement signed by him and made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia.
Okiyi-Kalu said that the decision was informed by the need to begin immediate restoration of facilities destroyed during the EndSARS protests.
Members of the committee include: Mr Chimaobi Ebisike -Chairman, Mr Aaron Iyke, Mr Frank Orji, Mr Sunday Okpara, Dr Ugochukwu Onyeonoro, Chief Jerry Kalu, and Mr Ugwumba Adiele.
Others are: Mr Chris Nwanevo, Mr Bob Amanze, Mr Okechukwu Osuoha, Mrs Joy Iwuchukwu and Chief Emeka Ubani.