By Ameh Ejekwonyilo
The Independent Investigative Panel on allegations of Human Rights violation and other units of the Nigerian police, sitting at the (National Human Rights Commission) in Abuja, has ordered the Nigeria Police to produce officers of the ‘one chance unit’, Jabi Massalaci Police Station before it on 24th of February, 2021.
Chairman of the panel Justice Suleiman Galadima, made the order following the alleged complicity in the extra-judicial killing of Obinna Jonah on the 1st of February 2020.
Mr. Okechukwu Jonah had come before the panel seeking justice for his deceased brother Obinna Jonah, a mechanic who was reported missing on 1st February 2020 following his arrest by the operatives of the ‘One Chance Unit.’
The complainant in his testimony said his family members had tried to search for him at different police stations in Abuja but were told there was no record of his arrest or detention.
Counsel to the complainant E.C Chukwu, therefore, prayed the panel to order the police to produce the officers of operation ‘One Chance Unit’, who were working from 25 January 2020 to February 1st 2020 (the period the victim was arrested).
Responding Justice Galadima expressed the panel’s willingness to see that justice was served, adding that the police is an institution hence they must know exactly what happened by getting every important details about the matter.
“We want to ensure no one goes under the radar” therefore all officers including the commander should appear before the panelon the 24 February 2021 for identification and further hearing”, the retired Supreme Court Judge added.
In another development, the Sulaiman Galadima-led panel also heard a case bothering on alleged unlawful arrest, detention, intimidation and torture of one Engr. Nicholas Ogbedo Azuka by the Police.
Nicholas narrated how the Police manhandled him under the supervision of DSP Funmilayo who was supposed to investigate allegations of fraudulent transaction committed against him by one Hon. Haruna Mohammed over the sale of land in Kubwa FCT, Abuja.
Nicholas who is demanding among other reliefs, the sum of N15 million (Fifteen Million Naira) from the Nigerian Police, over what he termed, “Compensation over damages on grounds of unlawful arrest and detention, intimidation, and torture by the police told the panel that he was defrauded to the tune of N5, 700,000.00 (Five Million, Seven Hundred Thousand Naira) by one Hon. Haruna Mohammed. According to him, the case was reported to upper area Court Gudu sitting in Abuja where the court wrote to the Deputy Commissioner of Police and ordered investigation into the matter.
According to the petitioner, DSP Funmilayo recovered the sum of N3, 150, 000.00 only over a period of eight months and handed over to him.
Instead of investigating the matter as directed by the court, DSP Funmilayo returned to court and testified against him (the petitioner) as the suspect, accusing him of giving the police false information.
The matter which was last heard on November 16th 2020 came up for continuation of hearing today, 9th February 2021. The respondents (police) in the matter where expected to appear before the panel but they did not. Despite their absence, counsels to the respondents proceeded in cross examination of the petitioner.
Lead counsel to the respondents, James IdachabaEsq. as part of his cross examination, established that the petitioner has a pending case at Apo High court which was filed on the 28th September 2020 on the same subject matter of abuse of fundamental human rights. This was confirmed by the petitioner as being true.
Nicholas, however, stated that the matter which was still pending at the high court has not been heard. He pleaded to the panel that he would rather have the panel hear the matter while he discontinues with the court.
The matter was adjourned to 25th February 2021 for the police to open their defense.