From the moment the judicial panel was set up to probe allegations of police brutality and human rights abuses, Nigerians have been highly doubtful of the effectiveness of the process. There have been several instances in Nigeria’s history where such judicial panels had been set up, the proceedings stretched on and before long everything was swept under the carpet.
An example of this was the Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission, known as the Oputa Panel which was established under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration to investigate gross violations of human rights committed in Nigeria from the time military took control in 1999 to when Obasanjo became president. The Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission of Nigeria submitted its final report to the president in 2002, but the report was not presented to the public, and the report’s recommendations were not implemented.
With such precedence in Nigeria’s history, it’s no wonder that Nigerians are not trusting of this current panel and its proceedings. To make matters worse, the Nigeria Police Force has now filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja praying for an order to stop the various states’ judicial panels of enquiry probing brutality cases against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The force said the action of the governors “is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.
It is either the judicial enquiry has started pressing buttons that are causing great discomfort to the police force or the process from the very beginning was a charade game. The panels were set up following the directive from the National Economic Council headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. So how then can the police force say the process is null and void when it’s been given necessary authority by the presidency. Is the president’s authority no longer above that of the police force?
The popular adage usually goes ‘Okro nor dey tall pass him owner’ but it seems this particular ‘okro’ is grunting hauntingly and pointedly daring its owner.
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
Toluwanimi is available on Instagram and Twitter @nimi_onaks