A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has declared as illegal, the Joint Investigative Panel constituted by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris Ibrahim, to uncover those behind violence that marred the December 10, 2016, legislative rerun election in Rivers State.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole described the Police probe panel which included the Department of State Service, DSS, as a contraption whose existence will create legal doubt.
He also held that the 15-man Special Joint Investigative Panel is a body unknown to any law in the country.
Delivering judgement on the suit filed by the Rivers state government on January 11, 2017, Justice Gabriel Kolawole said “the police panel was unknown to law because it lacked constitutional backing.”
Justice Kolawole said it remained to be seen whether the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami would prosecute those indicted by the police probe panel based on a report the court deemed illegal.
The court maintained that neither the Police Act, Security Agencies Act nor the 1999 Constitution, as amended, empowered the IGP to set-up and co-opt the DSS ,which is not answerable to him but to the Presidency, into the Rivers re-run probe panel.
“It is to this extent that the panel is unknown to the Nigerian Law or Criminal Justice System, even though its findings may be useful to a bona-fide security agency as a working document,” he said.
He added that “the exercise that was conducted by the panel could at best be described as ‘ministerial in nature in line’ with the concept of covering the field”, saying it could neither be “judicial or quasi-judicial in nature.”