Kenneth Afor |
The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) and Centre for Law Enforcement Education (CLEEN Foundation) has called on the various judicial panels of inquiry on extra-juducial killings sitting in some states in the country to dispense justice on victims and survivors of police brutality rather than dwelling on legal technicalities.
The groups made the call on Tuesday in a press release signed by Emmanuel Ikule, National Coordinator, Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN Foundation) and Benson Olugbuo, Executive Director, Centre for Law Enforcement Education (CLEEN Foundation).
Olugbuo and Ikule in the statement observed that states in the North-West such as Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara are yet to constitute panels of inquiry while states like Lagos, Anambra, Ogun, Kaduna, Imo, Katsina, Cross River, Gombe, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) among others have constituted the panels as at December 15th 2020.
The groups further observed that a total of 2,570 petitions which border on human rights violations, extra-juducial killings, torture among others have been received by the various panels of inquiry across the country as at December 15th 2020.
“Most of the petitions border on human rights violations such as extra-judicial killings, torture, extortion, harassment, sexual and gender-based violence, indiscriminate arrests, illegal detention, illegal arrests and abuse of power by personnel of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies,” they stated.
The groups also observed that some petitions filed by victims against the police and other security agencies suffer delay due to lack of cooperation from the security agencies.
“Some police officers invited by the panels have either retired or transferred out of the states compounding the issue of participation of the officers involved. It has also been observed that some retired or serving security officers who are members of the panels have vested interests in some of the cases before the panels raising issues of independence and credibility of recommendations,” they added.
Therefore, the groups are recommending that “the judicial panels should focus on facts and evidences presented by victims rather than dwelling on legal technicalities which most petitioners do not understand.
“The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) should intensify efforts in sensitizing the public about the free legal representation available to indigent petitioners.
Also, “uncooperative police and military officers should be subpoenaed to appear before the panel to respond to issues involving them,” they said.