Confusion as Nigeria Police Asks Court to Stop SARS Probe Panels, IGP Denies Authorising Suit

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Mohammed Adamu, Confusion, Nigeria Police, File Suit, SARS, Probe Panels, IGP Denies
Nigeria's inspector-general of police, Mohammed Adamu

Confusion as Nigeria Police Asks Court to Stop SARS Probe Panels, IGP Denies Authorising Suit

Nigeria Police Force filed a suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/1492/2020 at the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking an order to stop the panels of inquiry various state governments set up to investigate human rights and brutality allegations against the disbanded police unit called Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

But the inspector-general of police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has disowned the suit, saying he never asked for it to be instituted and threatened to take punitive measures on the Force legal department head, CP Tuesday Assayomo .

Oyetola. M. Atoyebi (SAN) had filed the suit on behalf of the police, saying that the action by state governors is “unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.

According to the police, the state governments’ decision to set up such panels violated 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 Police argued 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”.

The suit further argued that the state governments lacked the power to constitute the panels to investigate activities of the police force and its officials in the conduct of their statutory duties.

The police then urged the court to restrain the attorneys-general of the 36 states of the federation and their various panels of inquiry from going ahead with the probe.

Various state governors have set up panel of inquiry to probe allegations of police brutality and human rights abuses of the SARS and other police tactical units.

The National Executive Council (NEC), headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, directed for the inauguration of the panels as the EndSARS protests persisted in October.

The IGP has now directed an immediate investigation into the lawsuit and the alleged role of the Force Legal Section, including its head, according to the Force’s spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, in a statement on Thursday.

Mba said the Force management did not authorise the legal challenge, disclosing that Assayomo, who had been queried, might face further sanctions if found guilty of dereliction of duty.

 

 

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