February 22 20:46 2021 Print This Article

The representative of the Nigeria Bar Association NBA on the Independent Investigative Panel on SARS and other units of the Police Force IIP-SARS, who is also the second vice president of the NBA John Aikpopko- Martins the scope of the panel is to investigate police brutality.

The legal luminary observed that the Panel is primarily concerned about allegations of human rights violations before it which according to him should not be misconstrued with court cases that do not touch on the human rights components of the subject matter before the panel.

Aikpokpo-Martins Esq. made this clarification in a case of alleged inhuman and degrading treatment between Mr. Moses Agha and Mr. Ibe Ogboeodim Omareko and three others which came up for hearing.

Moses Agha had filed a petition alleging that on October 16th 2020, a police officer who was an escort to an official of the Abuja Municipal Area Council AMAC and a court bailiff Mr. Ibe Ogboeodim Omareko while on a routine check of defaulting organizations on the grounds of health license renewal hung a seal notice at Lois hotel Gwarinpa Abuja, where he (Moses Agha) worked as a security man.

According to the petitioner, the officers returned to the hotel minutes later to find the seal notice on the floor, and that it was at this point they started beating him up. Mr. Agha informed the panel that the court bailiff used a baton on his head several times which left him bleeding profusely.

A witness in the case, John Agbo, the General Manager of Lois hotel confirmed the story narrated by Mr. Agha.

Reacting, Fidelis Ogbobe Esq. one of the counsels to the police, told the panel that the first respondent mentioned in the case, Mr. Ibe Ogboeodim Omareko was not a police officer but a staff of the court and so was not represented by them.

In his cross examination, Counsel to the Nigerian Police, Fidelis Ogbobe asked the witness if he was served any summons by AMAC to appear in court, or if he knew why his organization was sealed, the petitioner said no.

Counsel to petitioner insisted on obtaining clarification over the issue of summons put before his client by counsel to the respondents.

John Aikpoko Martins stated that the issue of summons as far as the matter was concerned was irrelevant to the panel as the major work before the panel was to establish in all cases that police brutality took place.

The police said they could not make any defense since they had no case to answer in the matter.

Having failed to appear before the panel for the second time, the matter was adjourned to give the last opportunity to the first respondent Mr. Ibe Ogboeodim Omareko to appear before the panel

The matter was therefore adjourned to February 25, 2021 to make an order for the appearance of the first respondent and for the police to present their address.

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