We at the Rivers State Civil Society Coalition commend the setting up of the Panel on Police Brutalities in Rivers State by the state government led by Chief Nyesom Wike. We congratulate the panel chairman and members, particularly the CSOs representative in the panel, Comrade Karl Chinedu Uchegbu, zonal chairman of the Civil Liberty Organization CLO, the foremost human rights organization in the country.
Although we recognize that the task assigned to them is daunting, we are confident that they possess the experience, expertise and all that it takes to achieve the aims and objectives for which the panel was set up.
The panel is a welcome development. The society has waited for too long for a period like this when law enforcement officers and their accomplices who use their positions and their working tools to oppress, suppress, terrorize and torment helpless citizens would be brought to book. The society has laboured for a long time under the heavy yoke of police brutality, extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, tortures, extortions at gunpoint and all forms of human rights violations perpetrated by security operatives whose duty it is to protect lives and properties and enforce law and order.
Victims of police brutality, including families whose loved ones were brutally killed by SARS operatives and others, have been crying for justice for a long time without any succour. We see the panel as an answered prayer as we strongly believe that it would serve as a vehicle through which justice can be delivered to victims of police brutality. We also believe it would serve as deterrent to further recklessness by security operatives, with a strong message that even law enforcers are not above the law.
We urge the panel to ensure that they use their wealth of experience towards wiping the tears of the oppressed. Members of the panel should see it as not just a call to duty, but a service to humanity. We look up to them to do a good job and make effective use of this opportunity so that the governor who found them worthy to serve in the panel would at the end beat his chest and say that he made a good choice.
Once again, we commend the government for the right step taken in the right direction. We also congratulate the panel members and enjoin them to ensure they leave no stone unturned towards healing the wounds inflicted on citizens and the society by some ruthless security operatives, including SARS operatives.