About 24 hours after the Nigeria Police Force filed a suit praying for an order stopping the various states’ judicial panels of enquiry probing allegations of rights abuses and other acts of brutality of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad and other police tactical units, the police has made a U-turn.
The suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/1492/2020, was filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The decision to set up the various panels of enquiry was taken by the National Economic Council with members including the 36 state governors and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in the aftermath of the recent nationwide #EndSARS protests demanding an end to police brutality.
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Thursday, denied authorising the filing of the suit.
The NPF, through one of its lawyers, Festus Ibude, filed a notice of discontinuance of the suit on Friday.
Take notice that the plaintiff herein intends to and doth hereby wholly withdraws its suit against all the defendants.
The Police had in the suit, urged the court to restrain the Attorneys-General of the 36 states of the federation and their various panels of enquiry from going ahead with the probe focusing on police impunity.
Totaling 104, the defendants, who were sued by the NPF, comprised the Attorney-General of the Federation, the National Human Rights Commission which set up the Independent Investigative Panel sitting in Abuja, the Attorneys-General of the states, and chairmen of the states’ panels.
The NPF, had through their lawyer, Mr O. M. Atoyebi (SAN), argued in the fresh suit that the state governments lacked the power to constitute the panels to investigate activities of the police force and its officials in the conduct of their statutory duties.
According to the Police, the state governments’ decision to set up such panels violated the provisions of section 241(1)(2)(a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule to the Constitution and Section 21 of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act.
In the meantime, there are indications that the latest move by the police is coming as a result of the planned resumption of #EndSARS protest in various parts of the country.
The protests, tagged mother of all protests, have been scheduled to commence on December 7.