The Independent Investigative Panel probing cases of human rights violations and other forms of police brutality in Abuja on Wednesday threatened to order the arrest of two police officers attached to the notorious Awkuzu SARS in Anambra State.
The Awkuzu facility run by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is notorious for extra-judicial killings and inhumane conduct of its operatives.
Suleiman Galadima, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court who heads the panel set up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the wake of last year’s #EndSARS protests, noted at Wednesday’s proceedings that two officers attached to the Awkuzu police station had continued to snub the panel’s invitations.
The officers whose names were given as Mr Obiazo and Uzo Emeana, featured in the case of alleged arbitrary arrest and detention of John Emeka Alozie.
The chairman who reiterated the commitment of the panel to its terms of reference, noted that the two police operatives were necessary parties to the case.
A statement by the NHRC’s Deputy Director of Public Affairs, Fatimah Mohammed, shared with PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday, stated that police authorities had on three different occasions flouted the orders of the panel to produce the police officers.
Expressing the panel’s frustration about the officers’ failure to honour invitations, Mr Galadima said the panel would be left “with no choice but to order the arrest of Mr. Obiazo and Mr Uzo Emeana both of SARS Awkuzu, Anambra State.”
Mr Galadima then directed police authorities to take necessary actions to ensure the appearance of the two respondents before the panel without further delay.
He specifically directed the Inspector-General of Police and the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State command, “to quickly give effect to the production order to enable the panel to arrive at an informed and just decision on the allegations raised in the case.”
He also directed the panel’s secretariat to ensure that an enrolled order of the production order of the panel was served on the respondents, comprising the various police authorities and the two police officers.
Earlier on Wednesday, the 11-man panel had listened to the submissions of the parties to the matter including the Nigerian Police Force represented by its lawyer, Godwin Ijeoma, and counsel for the complainant.
The petitioner is Nnenna John Alozie, who complained about alleged arbitrary arrest of John Emeka Alozie.
The panel’s legal team comprising Chino Obiagwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Pwadumdi Okoh, and Afolabi Olawale were also said to have attended the chambers hearing.
Mr Ijeoma was said to have informed the panel in chambers that he had traveled to Anambra State to ensure that the affected police officers were duly informed about summons issued on them.
He said although, he could not find the police officers during his visit to the state, “their superior officers at the police station promised to assist in identifying them through the laid down police procedures”.
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