Media tasked on accurate, fair reportage as Bauchi judicial panel on SARS begins sitting

By Mohammed Kaka Misau.

The media practitioners in Bauchi state have been called upon to ensure that accuracy and fairness thrives as they report the proceedings of the Judicial Panel of Enquiry on alleged human rights abuses by men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).

The Chairman of the panel, Hon. Justice Habibu Idris Shall (Rtd) made the call on Wednesday while delivering his inaugural speech at the High Court in Bauchi.

“The panel expects nothing, but accurate and fair reporting of what transpired at the tribunal. There should be no negative or hearsay account of the proceedings”, Justice Habibu said.

According to him, the secretary and the counsel to the tribunal are always available to throw light on any issue concerning the proceedings of the panel.

Justice Habibu who said that the panel has received 10 petitions since its inauguration by Governor Bala Mohammed in October 28 said that the panel will sit on a day-to- day basis so long as there is a petition to be heard.

“Victims are at liberty to present their case personally or be represented by counsel”, he said.

The judge pledged that the panel will give the petitioners adequate time and facility to present their case.

The panel while assuring the government of Bauchi state of its resolved to discharge its constitutional mandate with fear of God and within the time frame, said that the panel would be guided by their conscience, the constitution and the law.

He also assured the general public that no one shall be penalised or victimised for enforcing his right, adding that quite a number of lawyers in the state have expressed their interest to represent any victim free of charge.

“While the panel is delighted and salute the courage of lawyers in their sacrifice, we urge lawyers to show decorum, respect and professionalism as they represent their clients”, justice Habibu said.

He warned that the panel will not entertain unnecessary adjournments or unseriousness on the part of the lawyers.

During the inaugural sitting, eight out of the ten petitions were mentioned for proper hearing in the subsequent proceedings of the panel.

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