By Andrew Orolua
The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja for an order stopping the judicial panels of inquiry set up by governors to probe allegations of police brutality and human rights abuses in the states.
At the peak of #EndSARS protests in the country, the state governors were directed by the National Economic Council (NEC) to establish judicial panels across the country to receive and hearing complaints on police brutality from the public and to deliver justice for victims of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units.
Joined as defendants in the suit, are the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Attorneys-General of the states, and chairmen of the panels set up by the states.
The NPF in the suit numbered, FHC/ ABJ/CS/1492/2020 and filed by its counsel, O.M Atoyebi, argued that the establishment of panels of inquiry by the state governors to investigate the activities of the force violates, “Section 241(1)(2)(a) and item 45, part 1, first schedule to the constitution and section 21 of the tribunals of inquiry act”.
NPF said the action of the governors , “is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever” and asked the court to restrain the defendants from conducting any investigation or setting up panels to probe the affairs of the security agency.
NPF also wants, “A declaration that, having regard to the provisions of Section a14 (1)(2) (a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Federal Government of Nigeria has the exclusive power to organise, control and administer the Nigeria Police Force,” The force wants the court to also declare that the establishment of panel of inquiries by various state governors 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 of the 1999 Constitution.
“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.
“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.”