Police write Odinkalu again, insist human rights chief must appear for questioning

Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu

Despite widespread condemnation by the human rights community , the Nigerian Police is bent on investigating the chairman of the governing board of the National Human  Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, over what the police authority have described as “damaging remarks allegedly made against the Nigeria Police Force.”

The force has therefore written to him a second time asking him to appear for questioning on Monday, April 16.

As has been reported by Premium Times, Mr. Odinkalu, following legal counsel, did not appear at the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID) in Abuja on Friday.

His counsel, Bamidele Aturu, explained that the police in their invitation letter did not state clearly any reason for the summon.

Following the invitation, and sequel to previous correspondences between the human rights chief and the police hierarchy, Mr. Odinkalu wrote to the acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, asking for a meeting to resolve the issues.

The letter titled “Invitation to interrogation by FCID” was written and sent to Mr. Abubakar on Friday, April 13, the day Mr. Odinkalu was summoned to the FCID.

Sources at the police headquarters told Premium Times that if Mr. Odinkalu had appeared on that day, he would have been arrested and kept in detention over the weekend.

In apparent dissatisfaction with Mr. Odinkalu’s letter and his failure to honour their invitation last Friday, the police responded asking the human rights chief to appear at the FCID tomorrow, April 16.

In the letter dated April 13, and signed by Dan Bature, the deputy commissioner in charge of the FCID, who also wrote the first summon to Mr. Odinkalu, the police insisted that the human rights chief appear for the interrogation.

“I am directed to re-invite you on the 16th of April, 2012 as suggested by you. Please note that the time is 12hours at the office of the Deputy Inspector General of Police ‘D’ Department, Force Headquarters, Abuja,” the letter stated.

Mr. Odinkalu, who is the first public official in the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to declare his assets publicly, drew the ire of the police hierarchy for  accusing the police of extra-judicial killings.

His treatment so far by the police has been condemned by several Nigerians and human rights groups, including the Nigerian Bar Association, and the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights.



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