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#EndSARS: Police Tell Court To Declare State Judicial Panels Of Inquiry Illegal

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The Nigeria Police Force has activated legal procedures to stop the #EndSARS judicial panels of inquiries set up by state governments to probe alleged cases of police brutality and other cases of human rights abuses.

The Police in a suit filed by its lawyer, Mr. O. M. Atoyebi before the Federal High Court in Abuja asked the court to stop the panels as the Police Force is not answerable to state governments under Nigeria’s constitution.

Naija News recalls following the #EndSARS protest and the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari had mandated state governments to set up judicial panels of inquiries to probe cases of human rights abuses and all other forms of extra-judicial activities levelled against the Police by members of the public.

However, the Police has now approached the court, seeking an order to stop the activities of the panels, arguing that its operatives are only answerable to the federal government.

The Police told the court that the panels violated the provisions of section 241(1)(2)(a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule to the Constitution and Section 21 of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, therefore want the court to restrain the Attorneys-General of the 36 states of the federation and their various panels of inquiry from going ahead with the probe focussing on police impunity.

They added that by virtue of the provisions of 241(1)(2)(a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule to the Nigerian Constitution only the Federal Government had exclusive power to “organise, control and administer the Nigeria Police Force”.

The suit, therefore, wants the court of law to declare that “the establishment of a panel of inquiries by the governors of the various states of the federation of Nigeria, to inquire into the activities of the Nigeria Police Force in relation to the discharge of her statutory duties is a gross violation of the provisions of Section 241 (1)(2) (a) and Item 45, Part 1, First schedule, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Section 21 of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, Cap.T21, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.

It wants the action of the various state governments declared as “unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”

Joined as defendants in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which set up the Independent Investigative Panel sitting in Abuja, the Attorneys-General of the 36 states, and chairmen of the states’ panels.

The case, initially scheduled for hearing on December 3 (today), has been rescheduled for December 18 as the court where the matter was listed did not sit.

Source: Naija News