By Osahon Osahon
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo has announced the readiness of the State Government to pay the sum of N190 million as compensation to the victims of police brutality as recommended by the Judicial Panel of Inquiry.
Obaseki, disclosed this on Friday, when he met with youths from the 18 local government areas of the State, at the Government House in Benin City.
Recall that the Governor had late last year constituted the panel headed by Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe (rtd), to investigate police brutality, human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings by the disbanded police unit, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the State.
He said: “I set up a panel to investigate cases of police brutality against the people. The panel has done its work and submitted its report.
“In summary, 117 petitions were received, 25 of them were struck out while 10 were dismissed. The panel recommended compensation to be paid to victims totaling N190 million, while the amount of judgment sum recommended being enforced was N98 million. I have accepted that we will pay those who were victims; we are not waiting for anybody, not even the Federal Government.”
“There should be a regular promotion for the police when it’s due, enforcement of welfare package, training and re-training of police officers, upward review of salaries, yearly mental evaluation and quarterly tests for hard drugs,” the Governor added.
While assuring that his administration will do all within its power to implement the 15 recommendations of the panel, the Governor noted that the youths are the greatest resources of the State.
He disclosed that the panel also recommended that youths should be encouraged in the area of agriculture, entrepreneurship, empowerment, girl-child education, provision of annual state scholarship, and building recreation centres, among others.
He however noted that the government has provided opportunities for Edo youths in the last five years with the deliberate emphasis on youth empowerment.
According to him, “What we have done with primary one to six, through the EdoBEST programme, is going to be extended to junior secondary schools, placing emphasis on practical training at the junior level.
“We are working out scholarship schemes and students’ low-interest arrangements to enable our students to have cheap interest loans to go to school. We are rebuilding our School of Nursing, School of Agriculture, and College of Education. This is to ensure the training of a new generation of teachers.”
The Governor also gave paid N1 million naira each to two victims of the EndSARS protests, Ohima Steven and Miracle Ailenokhoria, promising to pay for their continuous treatment.
He said, “The two young men brought here today as victims of the EndSARS protest will get N1 million naira each to ease their pains. I am working with the Commissioner for Health to pay for their continuous treatment.”
Solomon Idiogbe, who responded on hehalf of the youths, commended Governor Obaseki for improved security across the State.
Idiogbe who promised to work with the government in the realization of its Making Edo Great Again (MEGA) agenda, urged the Governor to engage more youths as a means of checking cultism in Edo.