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#EndSARS panel shifts gunshot victims’ petition till Nov 25

By Ameh Ochojila, Abuja
11 November 2021   |   3:01 am
The Independent Investigative Panel (IIP) on Human Rights Violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery squad (SARS) has adjourned, till November 25, 2021, the case of alleged torture and inhuman treatment...

The Independent Investigative Panel (IIP) on Human Rights Violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery squad (SARS) has adjourned, till November 25, 2021, the case of alleged torture and inhuman treatment brought before it by Chigaemezu Ojinnaka against the police.

At the resumed hearing of this case, yesterday, in Abuja, the police failed to produce Dan Iroakazi of State Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Imo State Division, who was the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) of the case.

In the petition, the complainant had testified before the panel that members of Operation Search and Flush shot him in Owerri, Imo State, on April 14, 2020.

The 20-year-old petitioner also informed the panel that the police, who accosted him on his way to see his grandfather in the hospital, shot him.

Dr. Garba Tetengi (SAN), who stood in for the chairman of the panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd.), told the police: “Due to the sensitivity of this case and the limited timeframe, the panel has to complete its work, we have need to know who shot this young man.”

The panel, therefore, directed counsel to the police and petitioner to submit their written addresses within one week, and that counsel to the police should be ready to open and close their defence on the next adjourned date, which is November 25.

But the panel struck out another case of alleged inhuman treatment, arbitrary arrest and unlawful detention, filed by Dr. Justin Nwankwo, for lack of diligent prosecution.

Counsel to the panel, Mr. Halilu Adamu, informed the panel that the petitioner could not be reached despite several phone calls.

Although Adamu suggested that the commission could continue with the investigation of the case anytime the petitioner showed up.

Similar cases filed by Julius Kyoon and Raphael Toona were adjourned till November 25. Counsel to the panel, Chino Obiagwu (SAN), had reminded the panel that the complainant had testified and was ready to close his case.

But counsel to the police, James Idachaba, urged the panel to adjourn the matter to enable the police to defend the allegations against them.

Respondents in the petition are Emmanuel Chimaroke of the Department of State Services (DSS); Jonah Ofor, Divisional police Officer (DPO), Asokoro Headquarters; Commander in Charge of Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IGP-IRT), Federal capital. Territory (FCT) Commissioner of Police, and the IGP.

Earlier, the police legal team led by Idachaba had informed the panel that one Inspector Makinde, the first respondent in the matter, had been ill for the past six months and therefore could not make it to the panel.

The panel advised the police to get relevant information about the matter from Makinde and report to the panel on the next adjourned date.