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Police asks court to stop judicial panels investigating SARS brutality cases



Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu


The Nigeria Police Force has filed a lawsuit to stop the activities of state judicial panels of inquiry probing allegations of police brutality.


State governments set up the panels after nationwide protests against the extra-judicial activities of operatives of the NPF’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in October.


The panels have been fielding petitions from members of the public who have been victims of the notorious unit, with a mandate to deliver justice and compensation.


However, the Force has filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja praying that the panels be stopped.


The NPF’s counsel, O. M. Atoyebi (SAN), argued in the application that state governments do not have the powers to investigate the activities of the Force.


He said the panels violate the provisions 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 NPF’s counsel noted that only the Federal Government retains the exclusive power to control and administer the Force according to the provisions.


The application prayed to the court to restrain the panels of inquiry set up by the state government from putting the Force and its officers on trial.


A total of 104 defendants were listed in the suit, including the National Human Rights Commission which set up the judicial panel in Abuja, and the chairpersons of the panels.


The panels were set up following the directive from the National Economic Council headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.


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