Post Endsars: Oyo judicial panel holds inaugural sitting
By Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan
The Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Police brutality held its inaugural sitting on Tuesday, in Ibadan, the State capital.
At the sitting, the Chairman of the Panel, a former Chief Judge of the State, Justice Badejoko Adeniji, urged the State Police Command to cooperate with the Panel to deliver on its mandate and cautioned everyone who would be appearing before it to be mindful of the supremacy of the law.
The Chairman made the appeal due to the absence of the Police at the inaugural sitting of the Panel which held at the House of Chiefs, Oyo State House of Assembly Complex, Agodi, Secretariat, Ibadan.
Adeniji expressed optimism that the new Commissioner of Police in the State, Ngozi Onadeko, as a lover of peace, would be very cooperative with the Panel to deliver on its assignment, adding that the Panel would write the Commissioner officially, while also not ruling out the possibility of a visit, to intimate the Command on the importance of the Panel and the assignment before it.
At the inaugural sitting, ten petitioners were called. Five of the cases were against ‘Unknown hoodlums’ while the other five were against the Nigerian Police.
Some of the Police stations which came up in the petitions called on Tuesday include, Area Command, Owode, Ogbomosho; Bodija and Iyana Offa Police stations, Ogbomosho Area Command; IGP Intelligence Response Team, Abuja and IGP & 5 others.
All the cases called out were adjourned till February. In all the petitions involving the Police, the Command had no representation as it was discovered that some of the concerned police stations were said to have refused being served to appear before the panel to defend themselves on the petition.
Some of the petitioners were not present to prosecute their petitions while those present had their respondents absent.
In a petition filed by one Olayiwola Oyedokun against Police officers in Iyana Offa, Ibadan, the legal officer of the Panel told the sitting that the Police at Iyana Offa refused to be served the summons.
Another case was that of an officer of the Nigerian Army, Lance Corporal Aderijo Adebayo Samuel, against the Nigeria Police, which was also refused.
Reacting to the absence of the Police at the sitting, the Chairman of the panel frowned at the attitude and ordered fresh services on them.
Earlier at the opening of the sitting, Justice Badejoko appealed to all petitioners and respondents not to try to influence members of the panel in any form or manner, warning the media to abstain from publishing false or fake news about the ongoing proceedings.
In a goodwill message at the opening, the Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan Branch, Mr Yinka Esan, commended Governor Seyi Makinde for setting up the Judicial Panel of Inquiry with the immediate past Chief Judge of the State, Hon. Justice Adeniji, and the immediate past Chairman of the NBA, Ibadan Branch, Prof. Oluwole Akintayo, and other distinguished personalities, as Chairman and members of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry.
He advised the panel not to be belaboured with the limitation of timeframe saying, “if the time given for the completion of the exercise is too small, apply for an extension of time instead of removing social distancing.”
He urged the panel to carefully evaluate the evidences presented by the petitioners and give recommendations according to the law and good conscience.