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EndSARS: Edo govt to offset hospital bills of 2 deaf victims, says panel chairperson

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Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo has promised to offset the hospital bills of two deaf victims allegedly shot by operatives of the Police and the Army, during the EndSARS protests in Benin.

This was disclosed on Monday, by Justice Ada Ehigiamisoe, the Chairperson of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry for victims of SARS and related abuses, sitting in Benin.

She said that the state government had offered to pay the medical bills of the victims, which is running into thousands of Naira, following a petition made by the Edo State Association of the Deaf, through the panel, to the State government.

The petition, entitled “EndSARS Tragedy: Shooting and Hospitalisation of Two Deaf Men: Mr. Bright Osarobo and Mr. Osazee Festus, call for Justice”, was duly signed by its chairman, Kingsley Eromosele, and presented to the judicial panel of inquiry.

The petition stated that it was disturbing that two unarmed, innocent, deaf men would be victims of the excessive use of brute force to quell a peaceful protest by citizens.

The Chairman said the unarmed and innocent deaf men, Bright Osarobo and Osazee Festus, were shot on Oct. 20, 2020, in Benin, by men of the Nigerian police and military men at Oguola junction, Siluko road and Upper Sokponba road, respectively.

Eromosele said Osarobo was shot a few metres from his house by the police, hospitalised and operated on his right hip and abdomen, at Time Hospital and later transferred to the Accident and Emergency Unit, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, (UBTH).

He added that Festus, on the other hand, was shot by the 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 the Accident and Emergency Unit, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, (UBTH).

Eromosele explained that Osarobo, whose right leg was 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. Similarly, Festus also ran the risk of being bedridden as a result of a spinal cord injury.

Both Osarobo and Festus are deaf young men, who worked as artisans to earn a living, Eromosele said, adding that due to their conditions, both victims were unaware of the declaration of curfew by the state government.

The chairman of the deaf association said offsetting the medical bills incurred by the duo, was their key demand made through the panel, to the state governor.

Imelda Osayande

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