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Panel urges Police to produce indicted officers

The Independent Investigative Panel on alleged Human Rights Violations by the defunct Special Anti-robbery Squad, SARS has enjoined the Nigeria Police Force to be more proactive in bringing its indicted officers before it.

The Acting Chairman of the Panel, Garba Tetengi who gave the charge in Abuja described as frustrating the refusal by some indicted police officers to honor its summons.

On the 8th of this month, the panel summoned the first respondent, a senior superintendent of Police serving in the Delta State command, Danjuma Ochejeh to appear before it on the 22nd of this month to answer to allegations of his involvement in the arbitrary arrest, detention and death in custody of Peter Ekwealor, a native of Odekpe community, in Anambra State.

Despite the fact that records had shown that Ochejeh was duly served the summons, he never showed up at the panel.

The Acting Chairman of the panel who explained that this was not the first time indicted police officers would be turning down its summons, said the panel might be forced to issue warrant of arrest on them.

Tetengi said the police should make their liaison officer available daily to remove some of challenges being faced by the legal representatives of the Force and replace their member on the panel, a Deputy Inspector General of police who had retired.

Though Danjuma Ochejeh was not available, the panel went ahead and took the testimony of the wife of the late Peter Ekwealor, Mrs. Caroline Chukwunwike.

Mrs. Chukwunwike who spoke in Igbo language told the panel that her husband was asked to represent his people in the settlement of the crises between Odekpe and Alaluga communities of Anambra state in June last year.

She said it was shocking to her to hear that her husband died in police custody in Abuja, in December last year.

Another witness and wife of a member of the Odekpe community, Aboi who was also allegedly shot by the police, Mrs. Dorothy Nnabuigo said she was present when four police officers entered their village and shot him.

The matter was adjourned until the Thursday 24th of this month.

The panel also entertained the case of alleged threat to life and unlawful shooting of one Mr. Kingsley Kalu.

Counsel to the Police, Fidelis Ogobe having cross examined the petitioner, told the panel that the force had dismissed the indicted officer, Daniel Akpabio after his orderly room trial.

Ogobe said since the Police had done the needful in the case, the force was no longer liable.

The petitioner, Mr. Kalu insisted that though the Police gave him one hundred and fifty thousand naira which was not enough for his hospital bills, they were yet to pay him any compensation for the amputation of his leg due to the incident.

The case was adjourned until next month to enable the counsel to the petitioner to respond in writing to the police position on the matter.

Bose Ijelekhai

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