One of the fall outs of the ENDSARS protest is the efforts of the federal government to get every state institute a judicial panel of inquiry to ascertain the extent of human rights abuses the police unit indulged themselves in.
The outcry of the numerous victims of police brutality especially those that went through the various torture chambers is heart wrenching.
It leaves the mind guessing if there was really anyone in charge in the administration of the police and justice system, with the level of impunity and gross abuse Nigerian citizens were subjected to.
In the 21st century when the world has moved away from the use of torture to extract information from suspects we appear to be celebrating it. What is more disturbing is that the many years of complaints and cries against police brutalities fell on deaf ears.
It did not come to many as a shock because it is reflective of the reckless abandon with which leadership at all levels in this country attends to all issues of urgent importance requiring prompt solution.
It has been described as a welcome development that the SARS protest has jolted the authorities to wake up to the realities given credence to the age-long commentary that the only language that Nigerians understand is the language of force. The leaders are not exempt from this unwritten rule as well.
It is pertinent to observe that the federal government ordering of a judicial panel of inquiry on the SARS brutish actions against the Nigerian people was not any strange to many. If anything, it would calm frayed nerves that a Daniel has come to judgment.
The inquiries are the usual government response to issues of this nature and so it may not excite many who are used to the usual outcome
It must be stated that in the past previous probe panels have failed to yield the expected outcome and many fear that this may not be any different.
Aside from being the usual response the nonchalant attitude that has greeted the exercise in some areas results again from the perceived uninspiring speech of the President which took long in coming after Nigerians had begged for it. It did not show any sympathy other than a passing statement to the fallen Nigerians.
Now that many states have kick started actions and responses are streaming in it becomes desirable to draw the attention of the various panels to the expectations of Nigerians. The exercise is designed no doubt to bring healing and express the concern of the government.
It is expected to give hope to Nigerians that justice may after all be wrought. It is not known exactly what and how the government may respond to the work of the inquiry.
News Echo demands of the commission to discharge their duties dispassionately and commit themselves to duty. Even though that they were appointed by the government they should approach the responsibility without fear or favour and deliver their reports as they saw it.
They level of impunity exhibited by SARS in Nigeria left a sour image for the country and no stone should be left unturned to demonstrate that we want to take a break from the ugly past.
We call on the people to keep hope alive still and rise to the challenge by walking up to testify of their experiences irrespective of their current state. We should not demonstrate apathy nor entertain any form of fear. Without explaining it as it is the government may not fully appreciate the level of damage done to the psyche of innocent victims.
In like manner we call on the government also to take the exercise very serious in order to change the perception of the people against it. Government should appreciate that the protest is the height of the people’s angst which boiled over and got snatched by hoodlums who took their expression too far. It can never be supported.
The expected police reform we believe should draw extensively from the outcome of this panel’s work. This is the reason we call on all the stakeholders to join hands so we can turn the situation around. Together everyone wins.