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Police dump human rights’ violation panel, NHRC alleges

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Police dump human rights' violation panel, NHRC alleges
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has accused the Police team in charge of Independent Investigative Panel on Alleged Human Rights Violation by the defunct Special Anti – Robbery Squad of dumping the investigation despite the allegations.

This is contained in a statement issued on Thursday, by the commission’s Deputy Director Public Affairs, Mrs Fatimah Mohammed.

It said the Nigerian Police Force since the resumed sitting of the Panel on the 1st of March 2022, refused to show up.

This is evident in the near absence of the police legal team at the panel despite proper information and hearing notices following the 2022 resumption of sitting.

According to the statement, at the resumed sitting the panel had only one police counsel, Mr. Kenneth Egbuchua who represents the institution, and policemen that are listed as respondents in all the cases before the panel.

When contacted by the Commission, lead counsel to the police at panel Mr. James Idachaba, who was also not present at the panel, told the Commission that he has detailed members of the police legal team to be at the panel unfailingly as he has an assignment outside his jurisdiction.

The statement reads: “Mr. Ebuchua who goes in and out of the sitting intermittently seems to be overwhelmed with the task he has to single handedly undertake at the panel. The panel at a point had to wait for him to come back before it proceeds when he went to answer the call of nature. Such a needless vacuum ought not to have been created if the police had taken their duties at the panel seriously in the last couple of days after the panel’s resumption.

“It would be recalled that the panel had suffered several setbacks and adjournments due to the lack of cooperation on the part of the police whose counsel has either refused to appear before the panel or refused to send signals to compel its many officers involved in cases before the panel to appear before it.

” Let it be put on record that the role of the police in the protection of lives and properties of citizens can never be over-emphasized. The panel members have severally warned the police not to frustrate the effort of the panel but this seems not to have made any impact considering their attitude at the resumed sitting of 2022.

“Dr. Garba Tetengi who stood in for the panel Chairman, Justice Sulaiman Galadima said “we tend to believe now that the police have abandoned us, they are just leaving one counsel here”

The Commission, therefore called on the hierarchy of the police institution to do the needful and take the IIP-SARS panel seriously, saying it is determined to fight for the rights and dignity of every person leaving in Nigeria.

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