Panel chides police over reluctance to produce accused officers 

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The Abuja panel investigating allegations of human rights violations by the Nigerian police has queried the force over its reluctance to produce officers indicted in the alleged disappearance of a victim.

The panel set up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Thursday, expressed its displeasure with the police for not presenting the three police officers allegedly involved in the disappearance of Edward Leera.

In the petition first heard on November 16 by the panel, the victim’s brother, Confidence Leera, accused Martin Samuel, Essien Edet and David Agbo (all policemen) of illegally detaining his younger brother since November 1, 2019.

Mr Leera said the three respondents attached to the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team in Uyo, had initially arrested his younger brother in August 2019, alongside nine other persons who were later released on bail.

Led by his counsel, Victor Giwa, the complainant said the victim was rearrested by the same officers on November 1, and they demanded N3 million “to close a case he had with them.”

This, he said, formed the reason for his brother’s detention until they filed a court case against the unit.

“Subsequently, on December 17, 2019, the honourable court ordered hearing of the application of Edward Dumisara Leera and delivered judgment in his favour and ordered immediate release of the said Edward.”

The order was served on the police “but they refused to obey,” the complainant lawyer told the Suleiman Galadima-led panel on Monday in Abuja.

He accused Mr Agbo, one of the three officers, “of converting his brother’s confiscated car to his personal use and suspicious cash withdrawal from his bank account”.

Mr Galadima subsequently summoned the IGP, Akwa Ibom Commissioner of Police, Emenemio Assayomo, the three officers, to appear before the panel on Wednesday, November 19, 2020, an order they ignored.

However, in defence of the absent respondents, counsel to the police, Godwin Ijeoma, on Thursday, registered the presence of Assistant Commissioner of Police, Cosmas Anyanwu, who explained the efforts of the police to produce the accused.

He said the difficulty was as a result of the “ongoing reshuffling within the force.”

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The panel members expressed annoyance at the police for failing to produce the accused officers. The panel then ordered the police to produce the victim and the three officers on the next adjourned date before adjourning the case to December 1.



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