By David-Chyddy Eleke
The Anambra State Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality and Extra-judicial Killings has stated that it has no power to arrest those accused of alleged brutality and extra-judicial killings.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Veronica Umeh, said the mandate of the panel is to listen to petitions, investigate and recommend compensation for victims of police brutality.
The panel had earlier written and invited the Inspector General of Police (IG), Abubakar Adamu, while also summoning former Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Commander in the state, CSP James Nwafor, to appear before the panel yesterday, but both men failed to show up.
Umeh stated this yesterday when counsel to four petitioners, Abdul Mahmud, complained that neither the IG nor other police officers accused by petitioners appeared before the panel.
“Our mandate is to listen to petitions, investigate and recommend compensation for victims of police brutality,” she said.
Counsel to Obiora Akabike, Mahmud, had filed a petition against SARS for the extra-judicial killing of Ekene Akabuike; E. C. Adimmachukwu for the extra-judicial killing of Obinna Adimmachukwu; Ada Ilonanya and family for the extra-judicial killing of Chijioke Ilonanya by SARS, as well as Onyinye Maureen and family for the extra-judicial killing of Okwuchukwu Onyemelukwe by SARS.
Mahmud lamented that those summoned, including ex-SARS boss, Nwafor, refused to show up at the panel to answer to the allegations against them.
According to him, “If this was a regular court, where anyone summoned refuses to show up, the alternative is to issue warrant of arrest.”
Justice Umeh read out the terms of reference of the panel, insisting that it didn’t include the arrest of accused persons.