From Teryima Ajijah, Jos
The judicial panel set-up to investigate police brutality in Plateau State commenced sitting in Jos on Monday.
The Voice gathered from the office of the secretary of the commission that it received 44 petitions from members of the public.
The panel of inquiry was set up by the Plateau State Government to investigate cases of brutality and human rights abuses, allegedly committed by police officers serving in Plateau State.
The panel is been chaired by a retired High Court Judge, Justice Philomina Lot, with 7 members who are to help in finding justice to alleged affected victims who have filed petitions before the commission.
At the sitting, three (3) petitions were mentioned 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 (the police) were not served as such, the proceedings cannot hold.
Mr 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 commission to serve the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu the said petitions instead of the Commissioner of Police.
Alex explained that some of the indicted SARS police officers were not in the state command and others are dismissed, which was not within the powers of the state command to get them to appear before the panel.
The judge, 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, stressing that Justice Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja is to produce the first petitioner who is in Kuje Prison to appear before the panel and testify.
Justice Lot also ordered that DSP, Maji Mohammed who is indicted in the case be served through the IGP to appear before the panel.
The chairman of the commission also ordered that commissioner of police in Plateau be served with the second and third petitions and adjourned the matter to 20 and 30 November, respectively, for hearing.
While handing down the ruling, Lot, said, “with what has happened in Nigeria in these past months, the police should have a rethink and change.’
The seven (7) man panel has six months to complete the assignment and submit its report to government.