Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun, on Thursday presented cheques of N53.2 million as compensation to victims of police brutality in the state.
Presenting the cheques to the victims at the Executives Chamber of the governor’s office in Osogbo, Oyetola said that the compensation is in line with recommendations of the State’s Judicial Panel of Inquiry against Police Brutality, Human Rights Violations and related Extra-Judicial Killings.
The governor said that the compensation is aimed at redressing the wrongs and set the state on the path of true healing.
Oyetola, who appealed to the citizens to continue to be law abiding and always demonstrate the virtues of “Omoluabi ethos” the state is known for, said the government would spare no effort to create an ambience of peace and tranquility for the citizens across the nooks and crannies of the State.
He said, “Today’s event is a further testament to the commitment of our administration to peace, and the rule of law.
“As citizens and officers of the state, let us reciprocate this gesture by continuing to relate with each other with the highest mutual civility, respect and understanding in the interest of sustainable peace and development.
“The Osun Panel, headed by retired Judge of the High Court, Justice Akinwale Oladimeji, was given the task of looking into cases of assault, illegal arrests, killings, brutality and other forms of rights abuse of innocent persons by officers and men of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police.
“Today’s occasion should therefore be regarded as a deliberate quest to redress the wrongs of yesterday and set our society on the path of true healing.
“I salute the leadership of the Civil Society Organisations and youths for their understanding and tolerance over the years.
“I assure you that we will never let you down as a government in ensuring that we secure your future,” he said.
Oyetola, however, appealed to victims of police brutality in the state to forgive, saying “I passionately appeal to all those who are justifiably aggrieved for the wrongs metted to them in one way or the other to forgive.”
He said his administration is equally committed to supporting the Nigerian Police Force in fully implementing relevant reforms that will enable it play its role in maintaining law and order.
According to him, the decision to pay compensation, which ordinarily is not the responsibility of the state, since the police are not directly under its control.
He said the list of all those who had secured judgement debt had been passed on to the Federal Government for necessary action, in line with the recommendation of the panel.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Panel, Justice Oladimeji, extolled the governor for deeming it fit to compensate the victims despite the lean purse of the State.
Oladimeji, who described the gesture as a right step in the right direction, noted that the decision would further register confidence in the minds of the people.
Some of the victims, who narrated their ordeals at the hands of police after collecting their cheques, expressed their profound gratitude to the governor for the kind gesture, saying he has indeed demonstrated that he is the people’s governor. (NAN)