EndSARS: Police files suit seeking to stop judicial panels probe

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…Lagos doles out N60m to families of slain police officers

The Nigeria Police Force has filed a suit in the Federal High Court, Abuja seeking an order to stop the various states’ judicial panels of inquiry probing allegations of rights abuses by the police.

The suit which was filed Thursday is with respect to the investigation of acts of brutality perpetrated by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad and other police tactical units.

In the suit, 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 focusing on police brutality.

The plaintiffs named about 104 defendants in the suit including the Attorney-General of the Federation, the National Human Rights Commission which set up the Independent Investigative Panel sitting in Abuja.

Others are the Attorneys-General of the states, and chairmen of the states’ panels.

The police, through its counsel, Mr O. M. Atoyebi (SAN), is of the view that the state governments lack the power to constitute the panels to investigate activities of the police force and its officials in the conduct of their statutory duties.

The plaintiffs maintained that the state governments’ decision to set up such panels violated 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 plaintiff therefore asked the court to declare that the establishment of a panel of inquiries by the governors of the various states to inquire into activities of the police concerning the discharge of its duties was unconstitutional.

“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.”

The plaintiffs also asked the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the state Attorneys-General of the 36 states from making or conducting any investigations, sittings, and inquiries and from making or conducting any further investigations, sittings and inquiries in respect of matters affecting the police.

No date has however, been fixed for hearing.

Meanwhile,The Lagos State Government on Thursday presented cheques of N60 million to families of six police officers who lost their lives in active service during the EndSARS protest mayhem.

Our Correspondent reports that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu presented a cheque of N10 million each to the families of the slain police officers.

Our Correspondent reports that the cheques were giving to the beneficiaries during the 14th Annual Town Hall Meeting on Security with the Governor.

The theme of the meeting was: “Lagos Security: Resilience in the Face of Adversity”, organised by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF).

Sanwo-Olu said that the state government would in addition give scholarship awards to the children of the fallen officers.

“As we rebuild our state, security remains our top priority. We will continue to expand and improve on our security architecture until we achieve a world-class system.

“We recognise that socio-economic growth is meaningless without an efficient security apparatus in place.

“As the Chief Security Officer of the state, my solemn promise to all law abiding citizens is that Lagos State will always be for them.

“We will stop at nothing to flush out all criminal elements whose sole aim is to foment chaos and perpetrate crime.

“Let me sound this note of warning, there is no hiding place for criminals and bandits in Lagos State,´´ he said.

Responding, the widows and children of the slain police officers commended the governor for the donation.

Mrs Olamide Erinfolami, the widow of ASP Ayodeji Erinfolami, thanked the governor and urged him to fulfilled his promise for continuity of the education of the deceased children.

“When I heard the information about my husband’s death, I didn’t feel good. I was so sad when I heard about the news.

“It was somebody from Maiduguri that called me to inform me; the police didn’t inform me officially about my husband’s death.

“I am from Ekiti State; I don’t live in Lagos. I want to say thank you to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. I want him to also fulfill what he promised that he is going to do for our children,” she said.