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Panel issues arrest warrant on Commissioner of Police

The Independent Investigation Panel on Human Rights Violations by the defunct Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) has issued an arrest warrant against an Inspector of Police, Shunku Terhermber of Bwari Police Station, FCT, in respect of his alleged involvement in the unlawful arrest, detention and seizure of property belonging to one Michael Uzoagba.

Chairman of the panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima, issued the warrant following the failure of Terhember to honour an earlier summonse issued against him through the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Bwari Police Station, Makinde Ola.

The summonse had ordered the police inspector to appear before the panel and defend himself against the said allegation.

Before the decision of the panel to issue the warrant of arrest, a member of the panel, John Aikpokpo-Martins said it was important to compel the appearance of Terhember before writing a report on the matter.

A member of the Police defense team, Fidelis Ogwobe expressed displeasure over the attitude of the police Inspector towards the panel, saying that the panel, given the circumstance, could decide to proceed with the matter in the absence of Terhember, in line with the Administration of Criminal justice Act (ACJA), having been given the opportunity earlier to defend himself.

Earlier, the Complainant had testified before the panel that Terhember, in the company of some other Police Officers, stormed his shop sometime in 2020, asking him of the whereabouts of his son.

After he failed to produce his son, the Police team started picking up his wares in the shop and transferring them to a waiting Police vehicle, zooming off thereafter.

The panel adjourned the matter until Wednesday April 27, for the said Mr Terhember to be brought before it by the Police.

Similarly, the panel has issued a warrant of arrest on the Commissioner of Police in charge of legal services at the Force Headquarters, CP Ochogwu in respect of the alleged enforced disappearance and unlawful arrest and detention of one John Emeka Alozie by the Force since June 25, 2017.

The CP was on several occasions ordered to appear before the panel with the case file of the victim, Alozie but has refused to honor the order of the panel till date despite adjourning the petitions 5 times.

Displeased with the ugly development, the Chairman of the panel Justice Galadima observed that the attitude of Mr Ochogwu, counsel for the police, was unbecoming of a lawyer and officer of the Police Force.

According to the jurist, the only option left for the panel is to issue a warrant of arrest on the CP legal and mandate the National Human Rights Commission to write to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) to report Mr Ochogwu’s conduct.

Justice Galadima said the CP had flagrantly and repeatedly disobeyed the order of the panel, having refused to turn in the said case file to enable the panel unravel the truth about the whereabouts of Mr Alozie in accordance with the law.

Mr Alozie’s wife earlier told the panel that a high court had ordered the Police to release the victim, but the order was never obeyed.

The panel adjourned the petition till Wednesday, April 27, for progress report.

Reporting by Bose Ijelekhai; Editing by Muzha Kucha and Tony Okerafor