As the Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian Police resume sitting on the alleged arbitrary arrest and detention; cruel and inhuman degrading treatment of Raphael Tersoo, the Chairman of the Panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima (retd) declared that all orders given at the last hearing for the appearance of one Inspector Vincent Makinde and Commander of Inspector General Police-Intelligence Response Team (IRT) still subsists.
The Chairman made this position known as the Commander IGP-IRT, DCP Abba Kyari and Inspector Vincent have continually refused to appear before the panel to give an answer to allegations of human rights violations and possibly a case of extrajudicial killing.
Recalled that at its first hearing on the December 14, 2020, Counsel to Raphael Tersoo and Moses Mfe, Mike Usahfa told the panel how his clients were arrested on the 22nd of November 2019 in new GRA Makurdi, Benue State and that after spending a week at the Makurdi zonal Command headquarters of the Nigeria Police were transferred to Abuja and have since been in detention.
Mike Usahfa lamented before the panel that since the arrest they have not been arraigned before any court of law and they have been remanded at the Suleja Correctional facility and that all attempts to secure bail were denied by Inspector Makinde who insisted that the sum of 1million naira must be paid before they could get bail.
He further expressed fears that Moses Mfe may have been extra-judicially killed because he was reliably informed that in the course of Mfe’s arrest he was shot and was not allowed access to any form of medical attention.
After his submission, Justice Galadima directed the head of police legal team at the panel, James Idachaba to ensure that the Commander IGP-IRT DCP Abba Kyari and Inspector Vincent Makinde appear before the panel to explain what transpired in the course of investigation and arrest, and how they ended at the Suleja Correctional Facility. They are to also produce Raphel Tersoo and Moses Mfe at the next adjourned date.
At the next hearing which was 17th December 2020, neither the complainants nor the police respondents were present before the panel.
The visibly angry Chairman stood down proceedings and ordered the Police liaison Officer to the panel Cosmas Anyanwu that “in view of the extant order of the panel, I am standing down proceedings on this matter for 2 hours to enable you to bring the complainants before the panel”.
When the panel reconvened after the two hours given, Cosmas Anyanwu produced Raphel Tersoo, however, the police alleged that Moses Mfe was an armed robber suspect like Raphel and that during investigations he fell sick and he was taken to University of Abuja Teaching Hospital where he allegedly died.
Thereafter the Chairman ordered that Raphel who has been detained for over a year should be arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction in Benue State, on or before 23rd December 2020 where they were first arrested, he clarified that Raphel had not been charged before any court in Nigeria and therefore ought to have been released by the police.
The Chairman further inquired about Commander IGP-IRT Abba Kyari and Inspector Vincent Makinde. And he was informed that DCP Abba Kyari is in Katsina for a special operation and Inspector Vincent Makinde is sick in Lagos state and could not appear as ordered by the panel.
The matter was further adjourned to March 2, 2021, for the appearance of the respondents.
At the said date given by the panel, the respondents failed to appear to explain what happened in the case of Raphel and Moses(deceased) the hearing was further adjourned to 18th March 2021(today) respondents still failed to show up.
The case has further been adjourned to March 23, 2021, for the police respondents to appear before the panel.