The Plateau State Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by Governor Simon Bako Lalong to examine cases of police brutality, human rights violations and extrajudicial killings, began sitting yesterday with 44 petitions.
A total of 44 petitions have so far been submitted before the panel, a number which may increase before the six months’ lifespan of the panel.
At the sitting, three petitions were up for mention but all were stalled due to the absence of the first petitioner and respondents not being served with the petitions.
The petitions up for mention were that of John Danladi, Udochi Obidike, and Bashir Isa.
Counsel to the panel, Mr. N.D Dalleng, prayed for the adjournment of all the petitions to a later date, stating that the respondents (police) were not served as such the proceedings cannot hold.
Dalleng also prayed the panel to order for trial proceedings of the first petitioner (John Danladi) from a Federal High Court in Abuja before Justice Binta Nyako where he is standing trial.
Counsel to the Commissioner of Police Plateau Command, Mrs. Muleng Alex, also prayed the court to serve the Inspector General of Police (IG) the said petitions instead of the Commissioner of Police.
Alex explained that some of the indicted SARS officers were not in the state command and others dismissed which was not within the powers of the state command to get them to appear before the panel.
The judge, Justice Lot, in her ruling, ordered that the Inspector General of Police be served with the petition in the case of the first petitioner immediately.
Lot also ordered that the petitioner’s court proceedings be made available to the panel on the next adjourned date, appealing to Justice Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja to produce the first petitioner who is in Kuje Prison to appear before the panel and testify.
She also ordered that DSP Maji Mohammed who is indicted in the case be served through the Inspector General of Police to appear before the panel.
The judge also ordered that the Commissioner of Police in Plateau be served with the second and third petitions and adjourned the matter to November 20 and 30 respectively for hearing.
While handing down the ruling, Lot stated that “with what has happened in Nigeria in these past months, the police should have a rethink and change.
“I also pray that IG and Commissioner of police will respect our orders and honour what we serve them because the experience in the past has been one that they don’t honour any of our orders,’’ she said.