The Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the Kaduna State government to look into the allegations of police brutality has held its inaugural sitting.
Justice David Wyom, who is the Chairman of the panel, informed those present at the first session on Thursday that the panel has received a total of 28 petitions so far from the public.
He gave an assurance that the panel would be fair, transparent, and just to everyone and urged victims of police brutality and other human rights abuses to come forward with their petitions.
Justice Wyom explained why the panel commenced sitting two months after its inauguration and announced that the deadline for the submission of petitions has been extended till January 29, 2021.
Among those who attended the inaugural sitting were the representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abdullahi Yahaya who is the NBA Chairman in Barnawa, and Sampson Audu who is the NBA Chairman in Kaduna.
Both lawyers, in their presentations to the panel, said they were willing to offer free legal services to petitioners without legal representation.
They also stressed the need for the panel to grant the NBA an observer status to appear before it, as well as for the panel to be fair and just to all petitioners irrespective of their status.
Others present were a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Lawal Tankoas well as, representatives of the civil society, youths, and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, set up the panel following the nationwide #EndSARS protests in October during which Nigerian youths called for an end to extra-judicial killings by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) – a unit of the police which has been disbanded.
The panel was inaugurated on October 19 and was given six months to complete its assignment.