For the umpteenth time at the independent Investigative Panel on defunct SARS and other units of the Nigerian Police Force, the orders of the panel were again flagrantly disobeyed by the Commissioner of Police Legal, Mr. Ogbeh Ochogwu, of the Force Head Quarters Abuja.
This time around, the panel has taken a firm decision not to shift ground but to go ahead and do the needful whether or not its orders are obeyed by the police to produce the case file of Mr.John Emeka Alozie.
It would be recalled that In the case of alleged unlawful arrest and detention, torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of one Mr. John Emeka Alozie by personnel of the defunct SARS, the panel had ordered that the case file relating to the matter be produced by the CP Legal.
In a previous hearing on the same matter, the police had admitted to being in possession of the said file.
All efforts thereafter to have the CP produce the case file either in person or through his officers have failed, as he is said to be in Osun State on another assignment.
In an intense argument that ensued between one of the panelists, John Aikpokpo Martins, and lead counsel to the police James Idachaba over the failure of the police to produce the file as ordered, Aikpokpo maintained that the CP had disobeyed the order of the panel with impunity.
Aikpokpo, who is representing the Nigerian Bar Association on the panel argued that the inability of the police to produce the case file of Emeka Alozie or any other relevant information requested from the police would not in any way stall the hearing of any matter before the panel.
According to Aikpokpo, the CP Legal is not a person but an office, and his absence in perpetuity cannot hinder the progress of the matter before a lawfully constituted Presidential Panel.
Counsel to the police, James Idachaba on the other hand consistently maintained that the CP had no reason to hoard the case file and that his absence that was the only reason stalling progress on the matter.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima rtd, who was represented by Dr. Garba Tetengi SAN stated that from the conduct of the Police so far in the matter, the panel may be forced to draw an irresistible conclusion.
It would also be recalled that this particular case has suffered daily adjournments just to ensure that the police produces the said case file” We are tired of repeatedly adjourning this case, we have given you enough rope, we are going to adjourn for report, prepare to take whatever comes out of the report” the Chairman informed the police.
He proceeded to adjourn the matter to March 30th, 2022 for written addresses.
Parties to the matter were given two days each to file their addresses; they were also given the liberty to submit documents that may assist their case.