By Femi Bolaji
RELATIVES of victims of police
brutality in Taraba State are now becoming more apprehensive over the inexplicable delay in the release of the report of the panel which sat over petitions tabled against police and army brutality in the state.
The fear of the victims has heightened following the continued silence over recommendations of the panel many months after the members concluded their assignment but kept mute on the outcome of their findings. The panel was put in place since October 2020 to probe the alleged brutality unleashed on members of the public by the police and other security forces which triggered a nationwide protests.
Arewa Voice, however, gathered that lack of funds for the panel to carry out its assignment was at the root of the delay in concluding the assignment and releasing the recommendations which would have enabled families of the victims to get some monetary compensation. But as the wait game continues, relatives of victims are becoming more distraught that they might never get justice for the loss of their loved ones or for the scars inflicted on their relatives and associates.
A grieving relative of a victim, Usman Abdul, said he and others were struggling to cater for the ten children of his late brother, who was slain by a soldier. “My brother was beaten to death by a soldier of the Nigerian Army. He left behind ten children and two wives and we are struggling to cater for their daily needs as we speak and we need the government to step in.”
Similarly, Mr. Ferdinand Kakaba, whose sister was a victim of police brutality, regretted that they had been abandoned after presenting all the evidence to show that their sister was murdered by the police for no just cause.
Kakaba said that most of the relatives of the victims of police brutality were now bearing the weight of the loss of their loved ones and taking over the responsibility of catering for the children and wards of those killed by the law enforcement agents without justification.
Kakaba said: “We are suffering untold hardship. While some of the victims have died, others are in various hospitals receiving treatment with their children and other relatives stranded in many places due to hardship.
We expected that since the panel had concluded its sitting, the government should have responded like every other state by implementing the recommendations immediately to give the needed succour to families of the victims.
We are hearing news reports that some states in Nigeria have started compensating victims, but we have not heard anything about Taraba. This is why we are calling on the governor to rescue us because we have exhausted our resources and are dying.
We don’t know if it is the federal or state government that would spearhead the compensation for victims, but we want the state government to know that it is its responsibility to take care of its citizens. We have been injured and are in pain and we want the state government to pity us and facilitate this process of compensation if that is the case.”