THE Anambra State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into police brutality has suspended further sitting over lack of proper logistics.
Veronica Umeh, a retired judge of the State High Court and Chairman of the panel who announced this on Tuesday said the panel will not sit until the needful is done.
“We will have to discontinue sitting because of logistics reasons, we will not sit until the needful is done,” she said.
The panel’s decision was followed by a plea by Abdul Mahmud, a lawyer to one of the petitioners, that the portraits of Governor Willie Obiano and President Muhammadu Buhari be removed from the venue of the sitting.
Abdul, who revealed this in a Twitter post said he had told the panel that the portraits were inappropriate in a judicial panel, arguing that such pictures made it look like an executive panel and stripped the panel of its independence.
“My protest drew the attention of the panel to the improper venue of its sittings and it was on this basis the Panel suspended further sittings until Anambra State Government does the proper thing,” Abdul said.
“Those who were in Awka would testify to the shabby nature of the venue. Counsels and Panel members had their exchanges constantly drowned by the generator nearby and the oscillating ceiling fans.”
Reacting to the request, the chairman said the venue which was borrowed from the Anambra State Association Town Unions, stated that the panel lacked the power to remove items it met in the place.
Protest, demands, government’s response
In October, there were a series of protests across major cities of Nigeria, when the youths demanded an end to police brutality and police reforms.
The protesters issued a five-point demand which included the release of all persons arrested and justice for victims of police brutality.
Other demands are “setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct (within 10 days), psychological evaluation of all disbanded SARS officers before they can be redeployed, and increase in police salary so that they can be adequately compensated for protecting lives and property of citizens.”
In response, President Muhammadu Buhari directed Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to disband the dreaded unit of the police.
Also, Some state governors except Borno, Kebbi, Kano, Sokoto, Yobe, Jigawa and Zamfara have set up Judicial panels of inquiry to investigate the acts of police misconduct perpetrated by the operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and to give reprieve to the victims of police brutality and their families.