By Shola Akingboye, 17th March, 2021
The Independent Investigative Panel on Defunct SARS and other Units of the Nigerian Police Force, has red its riot act to any respondents that repeatedly fails (mostly police officers) to appear before it as requested, says it would be left with no option than to invoke its power to issue a warrant of arrest against offenders.
Garba Tetengi SAN, a member of the panel who stood in for the Chairman of the Panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima Rtd, while described the development as “worrisome”, especially failure on the part of the police to execute directives of the panel with regards to appearances in answering allegations leveled against them, explains that the panel will begin to exercise its mandate and get those disobeys its orders brought to book.
The Acting Chairman therefore advised all officers involved to take the panel seriously, reminding them that the panel has a time limit, and that they have a responsibility to appear before it, otherwise, the panel will make its own findings and draw conclusions accordingly.
Responding, the liaison officer between the Nigeria Police and the IIP-SARS, ASP Asaph Aristole informed the panel that signals are dutifully sent to concerned police commands to ensure that alleged violators serving in those commands appear before the panel to respond to allegations of rights violations.
He (Asaph) however stated that failure of respondents to appear before the panel is borne out of their personal decision and not inefficiency on the part of the liaison officer.
He therefore gave his nod to the decision by the panel to proceed with compelling the arrest of any officer/respondent found wanting in that area.
The panel recalls this is the second time Mr. Raymond Eku (aka death) and IPO Sylvester, both of defunct SARS will fail to appear before the panel to answer to allegations of unlawful arrest, detention, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment of Mr. Richard Augustine.
In his ruling, the Chairman of the panel adjourned the matter to April 14th 2021 for the last time in order to compel the appearance of the respondents, and that the panel will be left with no choice than to order their arrest if they fail to appear before it.