A member of the Independent Investigative Panel on Defunct SARS and other Units of the Nigerian Police Force, Garba Tetengi SAN, has decried the repeated failure of respondents (mostly police officers) to appear before the panel as requested, a development he said may leave the panel with no alternative but to invoke its power to arrest and compel appearances before the panel.
Tetengi, who stood in for the Chairman of the Panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima Rtd, for Tuesday proceedings described as “worrying”, failure on the part of the police to execute directives of the panel with regards to appearances in answering allegations levelled against them.
The representative of the Chairman advised all officers involved to take the panel seriously, reminding them that the panel has a time limit, and that they have a responsibility to appear before it, otherwise, the panel will make its own findings and draw conclusions accordingly.
Responding, the liaison officer between the Nigeria Police and the IIP-SARS, ASP Asaph Aristole informed the panel that signals are dutifully sent to concerned police commands to ensure that alleged violators serving in those commands appear before the panel to respond to allegations of rights violations.
He (Asaph) however stated that the failure of respondents to appear before the panel is borne out of their personal decision and not inefficiency on the part of the liaison officer, he therefore, gave his nod to the decision by the panel to proceed with compelling the arrest of any officer/respondent found wanting in that area.
This is the second time Mr. Raymond Eku (aka death) and IPO Sylvester, both of defunct SARS will fail to appear before the panel to answer to allegations of unlawful arrest, detention, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment of Mr. Richard Augustine.
In his ruling, the Chairman of the panel adjourned the matter to April 14th 2021 for the last time in order to compel the appearance of the respondents, and that the panel will be left with no choice but to order their arrest if they fail to appear before it.