The Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations on Friday ordered the police to produce Monday Christopher, a retired superintendent of police, to appear before the panel and answer for the disappearance of Lukman Suleiman.
The 11-member panel led by Justice Suleiman Galadima is saddled with the responsibility of investigating all alleged human rights violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Police.
Christopher is being accused of alleged enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest, unlawful detention and denial of Justice. He had been earlier invited by the panel but has failed to appear before it.
What happened at the sitting
John Martins, the representative of the Nigerian Bar Association on the panel said the panel had equal powers with the High Court and its orders are binding on relevant persons or institutions.
Fidelis Ogbobe, counsel to the respondent in his response said serving an order compelling the appearance of a retired police officer by the police will be difficult.
According to him, he is unable to locate Christopher. He noted that it was the responsibility of the panel to serve Christopher personally through the legal team of the Commissioner of Police.
Divine Davies, counsel to the petitioner prayed the panel to foreclose the defence of the respondent and order both counsels to make written addresses.
Garba Tetengi (SAN) while representing the chairman of the panel said the panel needs to know the whereabouts of the victim (Lukeman Suleiman) and failure of the respondent (Christopher) to appear before the panel at the next adjourned date will leave them with the choice of taking a decision as they seem fit.
“For The last time, Christopher should appear before the panel, Failure to appear before it, this panel at the next sitting will however leave the panel with no other choice than to make certain inferences as the panel seems fit,” Mr Tetengi said.
“The matter before this panel is a very important one. The entire world is desirous of knowing the whereabouts of Suleiman whether dead or alive. Consequently, Christopher is ordered through the Commissioner of Police Legal to appear before the panel,” he added.
In case you missed it
Nairametrics reported early this month that the panel ordered the police to produce some police officers and the death certificate of a victim.
Nairametrics also reported that the Edo State Government said it will compensate victims of police brutality during the #EndSARS protests with N190 million.
What you should know
- The panel gave another order that Christopher be invited through the office of the CP legal team.
- The panel adjourned the matter until November 24.