EndSARS: Determined to stop further hearing on allegations of brutality and rights abuses by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking an order to stop proceedings of the various states’ judicial panels of enquiry.
Police, in the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/1492/2020, applied for an order to restrain Attorneys-General of the 36 states of the federation and their various panels of enquiry, from going ahead with their investigation.
Among 104 Defendants listed in the suit included the Attorney-General of the Federation, National Human Rights Commission, Attorneys-General of the States, as well as Chairmen of panels that were recently set up by various States.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government had in the wake of the recent #EndSARS protests that rocked the nation, okayed the constitution of judicial panels of enquiries to look into allegations of police brutality.
While a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Suleiman Galadima, was appointed to head the Abuja panel that was constituted by the NHRC, various Governors equally established judicial panels to entertain petitions against Police.
Meanwhile, in the suit it filed through its lawyer, Mr. O. M. Atoyebi, SAN, Police, contended that the decision by governors to set up panels of inquiry to investigate it’s activities and that of its officers in the conduct of their statutory duties, was in violation 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.
The Plaintiff maintained 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.
It argued that action of the state governors in setting up the panels to probe the NPF was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever
Consequently, Police is among other things, seeking, “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.
As well as, “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”.
Meanwhile, the matter has been slated for hearing on December 18.