By Kayode Alfred, Lagos
The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) has challenged the government to ensure the implementation of recommendations of the various Judicial Panel of Enquiry set up to investigate cases of police brutality across the country aftermath the EndSARS protests.
The NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje stated this in commemoration of the Umalokun massacre –an event used to remember six members of the association murdered in cold blood by men of the Nigeria Police in Ughelli on December 24 1983.
The Nigeria Police had admitted killing the victims, namely Kester Aghogho Sobotie, Joseph Uloho, Victor Oyailo, Anthony Teddy Omakor, Bernard Obi and Princely Otegho Otaye, unlawfully and promised to bring the killers to justice.
Owoaje in a press statement titled “Umalokun Massacre: An Unlawful Murder Among Many Past & Present that Blights the History of Nigerian Police” to mark the 37 th anniversary of the unlawful killing lamented that the Police have not been able to bring the killers to justice.
He restated the support of the association for the ideals that informed the recent #EndSARS protest across Nigeria noting that the Umalokun massacre like many other cases of extra –judicial killings remains a stain in the history of Nigeria Police Force,
According to him the protests and the support it received from Nigerians across social status has “reinforced our belief that Nigerians are in tandem on calls for an improved and effective Nigeria Police and a fully functional, justice system through far reaching reforms”.
Owoaje tasked the government to ensure that the purpose for setting up the judicial panel of enquiry which is to get justice for victims is fulfilled.
The statement read in part “It is important that as sittings go underway in various states, citizens are allowed unconditional liberty to table their grievances in the most conducive atmosphere of tolerance in the course to get justice. The government must resist the temptation to muzzle victims of police brutality or attempt to suppress evidence in their endeavour to get justice.
“More significantly, we need to emphasize that the setting up of the Judicial Panel of Enquiry and its commencement of sitting is not an end in itself but a means to an end. The end result is justice for victims and this should not be compromised. The reports of the panel(s) must not be allowed to gather dust like others before it. Government must act decisively on the anticipated reports and punish all those indicted.
“The Umalokun massacre and other incidents of extra judicial killings remain a sad chapter in the history of our country, the Police and our justice system. The Judicial Panel of Enquiry offers a golden opportunity for the government to redeem its image of negligently or wilfully shielding from justice, suspected criminal elements in the Nigeria Police. The government should further demonstrate its sincerity by implementing recommendation(s) to be submitted to it from the various Judicial Panels of Enquiry. The Government and the leadership of the Nigeria Police should be bold enough to summon the required political will to accelerate the needed Police reforms in our country”