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General News of Thursday, 3 March 2022

Source: www.premiumtimesng.com

Again, police shun EndSARS Abuja panel

The Lagos state judicial panel on EndSARS The Lagos state judicial panel on EndSARS

The Nigerian police, on Thursday, shunned the Abuja #EndSARS enquiry set up to investigate its pending cases of police brutality.

The hearing, which generally begins sittings at 10 a.m., had to be delayed for about two hours for the police legal team to arrive for Thursday’s proceedings.

But despite the delayed commencement, the police team had yet to arrive as of the time the proceedings started about 12 p.m.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the panel, on Wednesday, lamented the abandonment of the panel’s sittings by the police.

Only one member of the police legal team, Kenneth Egbochua, appeared at the panel’s hearing on Wednesday.

No member of the team appeared when the panel resumed from a 10-week break on Tuesday, and none of them had appeared as of the time of filing this report on Thursday.

The panel’s secretary speaksThe panel’s secretary, Hilary Ogbonna, told journalists on Thursday that he had received information from Mr Egbochua that other members of his team had gone on special assignments, the same point the lawyer made when he appeared on Wednesday.

He said the commission had to call the leader of the police legal team over the matter earlier on Wednesday.

Mr Ogbonna said the team leader assured that some other members would join the hearing, but only one additional lawyer came for the Wednesday’s sitting.

“We had to call the leader of the police and legal counsel who promised that the police counsel would join the sitting, but they came late,” Mr Ogbonna said.

He added that he was shocked to find out that none of the lawyers showed up for Thursday’s sitting.

Mr Ogbonna said the executive secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to ensure full participation of the police legal team in the proceedings of the panel.

He also said some of the police lawyers had confided in some NHRC officials that they were grappling with the challenges of logistics and congested schedules.

“We hope that the issue will be sorted out and that the police will join later today or tomorrow because the panel needs them. This, however, will not in any way affect the dispensation of justice,” Mr Ogbonna assured.

The NHRC had on Wednesday lamented the abandonment of the panel’s sitting by the police, threatening to invoke its power under the NHRC Act to address the situation.

But the commission was not specific on the steps it intended to take.

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