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#EndSARS: Police approaches court to stop judicial panels’ investigations

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have filed a suit at a federal high court in Abuja seeking to stop the judicial panels of inquiry established across the country in a move to deliver justice for all victims of the disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS) and other police units.

Okay.ng recalls that state governors had following the #EndSARS protesters set up the judicial panels to probe allegations of police brutality and human rights abuses against the force.

In a suit marked FHC/ ABJ/CS/1492/2020 and filed by Nigeria Police Force’s lawyer, O.M Atoyebi, the force argued that the establishment of panels of inquiry by the state governors to investigate the activities of the force violates “section 241(1)(2)(a) and item 45, part 1, first schedule to the constitution and section 21 of the tribunals of inquiry act”.

The police said the action of the governors “is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.

The suit reads partly: “A declaration that having regard to the provisions of Section a14 (1)(2) (a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Federal Government of Nigeria has the exclusive power to organise, control and administer the Nigeria Police Force.

“A declaration that the establishment of 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.

“A declaration that having regard to the circumstances of this case, the attitude of the governors of the various states of the Federation of Nigeria, in this case, is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 3rd to 38th defendants (the attorneys-general of the 36 states) from making or conducting any investigations, sittings and inquiries and/or from making or conducting any further investigations, sittings and inquiries in respect of matters affecting the Nigeria Police Force, and or further setting up any panel of inquiry in any state whatsoever in the country.”

Although the case was listed for December 3, it has been rescheduled for December 18 as the court where the matter was listed did not sit.

The defendants who were sued by the NPF, include 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.

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