Posted by News Express | 9 December 2020 | 1,003 times
By PAMELA EBOH, Awka
Expectations that the Ex-Commander of the notorious Awkuzu SARS, Mr. James Nwafor, would appear before the judicial panel of enquiry set up by Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, to hear petitions against police brutality in the state were on Tuesday dashed following his absence.
The panel’s earlier summon to the Inspector-General of Police through Red Star courier agency with receipt number 19459287 also met a brickwall as neither the IGP nor his representative graced the proceedings.
Addressing petitioners in Awka, the tribunal Chairman, Justice Veronica Umeh, reiterated that its mandate was to hear, investigate and recommend compensation for victims of police brutality.
Umeh made the clarification when counsel to some of the petitioners, Mr. Abdul Mahmud, regretted that neither the IGP nor other police officers summoned to appear before the panel showed up.
Mahmud is counsel to Obiora Akabike who filed a petition against Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) for alleged extrajudicial killing of Ekene Akabuike, E. C. Adimmachukwu for the extrajudicial killing of Obinna Adimmachukwu, Ada Ilonanya and family for extrajudicial killing of Chijioke Ilonanya by SARS, and Onyinye Maureen and family for the extra-judicial killing of Okwuchukwu Onyemelukwe by SARS.
While regretting their absence, Mahmud argued that in a regular court where someone summoned refused to show up, the alternative was to issue warrant of arrest, saying that it would appear that the panel lacked power to do so.
He urged the panel to take judicial notice of the attitude of Nigeria Police Force.
In closing his case, Mahmud prayed the panel to grant his prayers on the basis of the uncontested affidavit on aspects of restitution to those concerned and an apology by the police.
Chairman of the panel however cut him short to read out the powers of the panel, adding: “Much as there was evidence that the courier service was received, the panel had no choice than to follow the terms of reference setting it up.”
On his part, Counsel to the Nigeria Police, Mr. Innocent Obi, said he had no materials to work with.
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