EKITI State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olawale Fapohunda, SAN, says the state government has completed payment of the N21.25m compensation to victims of human rights violations and those affected by the violence that broke out during the 2020 #EndSARS protests.
Fapohunda said, “The N21.35m was the full amount awarded by the Ekiti State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Allegations of Human Rights Violations by Police Officers including Officers of Special Anti-Robbery Squad and Other Persons (#EndSARS panel) set up by the state government”.
He gave the disclosure in a statement on Saturday, titled, ‘EKSG concludes payment of compensation to victims of police brutality – strengthens access to justice in the state’ in which he gave assurance of the ‘government’s resolve to continue to strengthen the culture of good governance and respect for human rights in Ekiti State.’
Recall that the state government had earlier in 2021 paid N7.4m to 24 of the victims being the first tranche of the compensations awarded by the Justice Cornelius Akintayo (retd)-led panel while the N13.8m balance was for 28 other victims.
Among recommendations of the panel are the need to review the administration of the justice system in a manner that prioritizes the needs of all those who come into conflict with the law while at the same time recognizing victims of crime as important stakeholders in the criminal justice system.
Beyond compensations payment, the AG said the state government had taken steps on other aspects of the panel’s recommendations which included implementation of ‘Mr governor’s directive on the development of a Victim’s Charter that spells out in simple words the rights, the obligations, and the duties of state institutions to victims of crime.’
“We have further implemented Mr governor’s directive for a holistic review of the Criminal Law of Ekiti State with emphasis on the legal protection of victims of crime,” the commissioner added.
Fapohunda said that the Ministry of Justice had taken concrete steps in establishing functional ‘Access to Justice’ offices across the state and was reviewing the status of the Department of Citizens Rights and the Office of the Public Defender.
The step, which he said was ‘in response to the agitations of citizens for an easily accessible office where citizens’ complaints can be heard and dealt with promptly, informed the establishment of the Citizens’ Complaints Centre at the Ojaoba Market, Ado Ekiti to complement the mandates of the DCR and OPD in providing professional legal advice and representation for persons whose rights are violated.’
He added that Fayemi would also in his capacity as Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum, make the issue of police reform and the need to improve conditions of police officers an agenda during the governors’ meeting and that of the police council.
It could be recalled that the state government had earlier in 2021 paid N7.4 million to 24 of the victims being the first tranche of the compensations awarded by the Justice Cornelius Akintayo (retd) led panel while N13.8mn balance was for 28 other victims.