18th January, 2021
By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has offered to offset the hospital bills of two deaf persons who were allegedly shot by operatives of the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Army, during the #EndSARS protest in Benin City.
The State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for victims of SARS and related abuses, announced the cheering news at its sitting on Monday.
The State Association of the Deaf had earlier approached the panel of inquiry, narrated how two of its members were shot during the protest, and made some requests for assistance to the state government.
Their requests were contained in a petition titled: “EndSARS Tragedy: Shooting and hospitalization of two deaf men: Mr. Bright Osarobo and Mr. Osazee Festus, call for Justice”, signed by its chairman, Kingsley Eromosele.
He said it was disturbing that two unarmed innocent deaf men were victims of the excessive use of brute force to quell peaceful protest by citizens.
Eromosele alleged that the unarmed and innocent deaf men were shot on 20 October, 2020, in Benin City, by military and police operatives at Oguola junction, Siluko Road, and Upper Sokponba Road, respectively.
According to him, Bright was shot few metres away from his house by the police, hospitalised and operated on at the right hip and abdomen at Time Hospital and later transferred to Accident and Emergency Unit, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, (UBTH).
“On his part, Festus was shot by the Nigerian Army at the back of his neck while waiting to be hired as an artisan on Upper Sokponba road and was rushed to Omosu Hospital for stabilization before being transferred to Accident and Emergency Unit of University of Benin Teaching Hospital, (UBTH),” Eromosele alleged.
He further told the panel of inquiry that Mr. Bright whose right leg has been amputated, due to the gravity of the injury from the gun shot, also suffered renal failure as a result of complications from the abdominal operation, while Osazee Festus runs the risk of being bedridden as a result of spinal cord injury.
Eromosele said both Bright and Festus are deaf young men who work as artisans to earn a living, who were not aware of the declaration of curfew by the state government, due to their conditions.
Eromosele listed offsetting the medical bills incurred by the duo, as one of their demands to the state governor, through the panel.
It was announced at the siting on Monday that the state government has offered to offset the medical bills of the victims, which runs into several hundred thousands of naira.