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Police withdraws suit to stop #EndSARS investigating panels

By Dennis Erezi
04 December 2020   |   11:34 am
Nigeria Police has applied to withdraw the suit it filed to stop various panels that were st-up to probe allegations of rights abuses and other acts of impunity by personnel disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). In the notice of discontinuing the suit, police lawyer Festus Ibude asked the court to “Take notice that the plaintiff…

Nigeria Police has applied to withdraw the suit it filed to stop various panels that were st-up to probe allegations of rights abuses and other acts of impunity by personnel disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

In the notice of discontinuing the suit, police lawyer Festus Ibude asked the court to “Take notice that the plaintiff herein intends to and doth hereby wholly withdraws its suit against all the defendants.”

Listed as defendants in the case include 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 judicial panels of inquiry were set up in most states of the country by governors to probe allegations of police brutality and human rights abuses of the disbanded SARS and other police tactical units.

The suit seeking a halt to the panel investigations was filed on November 9, 2020, by a lawyer to the Nigeria police O. M. Atoyebi (SAN).

The inauguration of the panels was directed by the National Executive Council (NEC), headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, during the heat of the EndSARS movement in October.

The NEC had said the panels would receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra-judicial killings with a view to delivering justice for all victims of the dissolved SARS and other police units.

But police authorities, through Atoyebi, argued in the suit that the action of state governors was “unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”

It added 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 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.

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