Youth representatives at the Anambra State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality, Extra-judicial Killing and other Related Matters have condemned the freezing of bank accounts of #EndSARS protesters and other forms of intimidation by the police and Nigerian Government agents.
Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria had obtained an ex parte order to freeze the accounts of 20 individuals and an organisation linked to the #EndSARS campaign for 90 days.
The youth representatives during a public sitting said Nigerians were losing confidence in the efficacy of the panels of inquiry over the recent clampdown on #EndSARS protesters by the government.
“The panel will recall that many state governments have setup various forms of panels of inquiries to look into the issues of police brutality, extortion and extra-judicial killings. There is also a general consensus that the high-handedness and corruption in the police, particularly SARS, brought about the protests across the country that culminated in the various judicial panels of inquiries, Anambra State panel included.
“Sadly, the media has been inundated with stories of arrests of EndSARS protesters, restriction of bank accounts of these protesters and other forms of intimidation by the police or other government functionaries. The public is speedily losing confidence in the efficacy of the panel of inquiry in view of the abuse of young Nigerians currently ongoing.
“I therefore propose, in view of the foregoing, that this panel considers and makes the following resolutions: That the governor of Anambra State should write the Commissioner of Police of the state and charge him to ensure that no resident of Anambra State, particularly those who participated in the #EndSARS protests, is unjustly arrested, detained or prevented from using his/her bank account(s).
“We call on all NBA branches in Anambra to immediately publicize the contacts of their human rights committees so young or indigent members of the public can approach them whenever they are faced with any form of victimization by the Nigeria Police Force in view of their participation in the nationwide #EndSARS protests,” one of them said.
Reacting, Justice Vero Ngozi Umeh (rtd), chairman of the panel, said a notice concerning the freezing of accounts of #EndSARS protesters will be relayed to the governor.
The chairman maintained that no youth in state shall be intimidated or harassed as a result of their involvement in the protest.
She added that a letter will be written to the Anambra Commissioner of Police, John Abang.