By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The 14-man Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the Niger State Government to look into cases of police brutality, abuse of human rights and other unwholesome and extrajudicial acts of some police personnel, particularly the disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad(SARS), began sitting in Minna, the state capital, on Tuesday.
The commission is to also receive reports of all unwholesome acts against the police in the course of the lawful discharge of their duties in the state.
The panel, which was set up on October 23, 2020, by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello with Justice Ishyaku Usman as the chairman, has two months to complete its assignment.
Speaking at its inaugural sitting, Justice Ishyaku Usman charged literate members of the public, members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), student bodies and civil servants to assist illiterate members of the public in drafting petitions or complaints for them, adding that in doing so, they should be sure the petitions are weighty with substance and provable evidence.
“We humbly urge our traditional leaders in the state, the emirs, district and ward heads to sensitise their subjects about this opportunity. We also call for memoranda from the 25 local government areas of the state, the chairmen to help in disseminating the calls for the memoranda to citizens in their jurisdiction,” he said.
Usman disclosed that the commission has improvised rules of proceedings of nine chapters for its sitting, stating that one of the rules is that: “Presentations by individuals or groups shall be restricted to those who have previously submitted their memorandum.
“Representations by legal practitioners will be allowed but devoid of strict courtrooms technicalities.”
The chairman also disclosed that the panel will strictly observe and enforce the NCDC rules of physical distancing and wearing of masks, adding that the use of soaps and hand sanitisers are to be enforced.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Malam Nasara Dan Malam, in an address, said the government is determined to bring about sanity in the society and that people should be allowed to go about their lawful business without let or hindrance.
Dan Malam said it was not only the public that have been harassed or intimidated which is why the police too should submit report on those that have harassed them in the lawful discharge of their duties.
THISDAY learnt that so far, only two petitions have been received by the commission.