Nigeria Police moves to stop probe of SARS, other officials by states panel
The Nigeria Police has initiated a move to stop various judicial panels in some states of the federation probing allegations of rights abuses and other acts of impunity committed by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The Police has approached a Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking among others, an order restraining the Attorneys-General of the 36 states and the panels of inquiry they constituted, from proceedings with their investigation of the activities of the police and their officials.
The suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1492/2020, filed for the NPF by its lawyer, O. M. Atoyebi has 104 defendants.
The defendants 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 plaintiff is contending that the decision by governors to set up panels of inquiry to investigate activities of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and their officials in the conduct of their statutory duties violate 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 NPF is of the view that by the provisions of 241(1)(2)(a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule to the Constitution the Federal Government of Nigeria has exclusive power to “organise, control and administer the Nigeria Police Force.”
The plaintiff raised three questions for the court’s determination. It is also seeking four main reliefs.
One of the prayers is 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.
State governments have raised the panels to investigate alleged infractions by SARS operatives, following nationwide #EndSARS protests by youths.
The panels have since been sitting in almost all the states.