#EndSARS: NHRC panel insists police must produce operatives fingered in enforced disappearance

By Ameh Ejekwonyilo

The Independent Investigative Panel on allegations of human rights violations by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian Police force on Thursday told the Police to be serious in complying with its order of November 16, 2020, which directed force to produce three cops allegedly involved in the enforced disappearance of Edward Dumsiri Leera.

The victim’s brother, Confidence Leera had alleged that his brother was being held in police custody since November 1,2019.

The Chairman of the 11-member panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima (Rtd) who queried the police at the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday said that the Commissioner of Police in charge of Legal Department should have been present to inform the panel about the whereabouts of the said officers as he promised earlier.

While making reference to the panel’s order of November 16, 2020, the retired Supreme Court Justice remarked that the police should be serious in complying with the said order.

Against the foregoing, the panel adjourned the case to December 1, 2020 for the Police to comply with the order of November 16, 2020 to produce the victim and the three other Police officers earlier listed.

The affected officers includes: SP Marthin Samuel, DSP Essien Edet and ASP David Ameh Agbo (IGP’s IRT “D” Division) Itam, Uyo).

Counsel to the Police, Godwin Ijeoma told the panel that Assistant Commissioner of Police ACP Cosmas Anyanwu who is also the liaison officer attached to this panel has come to explain the various efforts being made by the Police to produce the affected persons before the panel.

Following this, the ACP Cosmas Anyanwu told the panel that the Commissioner of Police Legal, Emenemio Assayomo Tuesday, has directed him to inform the panel about efforts being made by the Police to produce all affected police personnel in respect of their alleged involvement in this matter.

ACP Anyanwu who is also in- charge of Civil Litigations at the Force headquarters further told the panel that Police authorities have sent signals to all Commands towards ensuring the availability of any concerned Police Officer before the panel.

Similarly, he informed the panel that beginning from Monday next week, the Police will set up a mini-secretariat at the FCT High Court (venue of the panel sitting) to enhance correspondences relating to service of petitions and proper documentation of the proceedings of the panel.

It would be recalled that on November 16, 2020, elder brother of the victim, Confidence Leera who was led by his counsel, Giwa Victor had testified before the Panel about some of the ordeals of his missing brother in the hands of the affected Police officers.

According to the complainant, the victim was arrested, detained for no just cause and his car confiscated and converted to personal use by IPO ASP David Ahmed Agbo.

In addition, he had alleged that ASP Agbo is now driving the car belonging to the victim, as well as allegedly making cash withdrawals from the the victm’s bank account using his ATM between the period of November 2019 to October 2020.

He had also informed the panel that his family was asked to pay the sum of three million naira (N3m) by the police before Edward will be released.

According to him Edward Dumisara was not arraigned before any court of law in Nigeria and when the family got worried over his long incaceration, they instituted a suit for the enforcement of his fundamental rights in suit No. BHC/202/2019.

“Subsequently, on December 17, 2019 the honourable court ordered hearing of the application of Edward Dumisara Leera and delivered judgment in his favour and ordered immediate release of the said Edward. He added that the order was served on the Police but they refused to obey”, he stated.

He had eqaully lamented that instead of complying to the court judgment of December 2019, Edward Dimisara was charged to court on 7 count charge before Honourable Justice E.N. Ogbuji in suit No. PHC/287/CR/2020 but IRT has neither produced him in court nor released him in accordance with the earlier court order.

Against the foregoing, he told the panel that it seems the victim had been killed extra judicially and disposed of.

In all the matters heard, NHRC panel’s legal team led by Chino Obiagwu (SAN) was on hand to offer the necessary legal assistance to the panel even as they assisted Patience Ajibo and her daughter, Favour in presenting their case before the panel.

Meanwhile, the panel adjourned Mr. Samson Abudiore complaint of alleged abuse of powers, harassment, incessant arbitrary arrest, disobedience of court order by the personnel of the IGP monitoring unit in connivance with one Pastor Maxel Okauru to January 11,2021 for continuation.

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