NHRC panel summons Cross River CP, Governor Ayade’s security adviser

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)’s independent investigative panel on human rights violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units on Tuesday ordered the Cross River State Commissioner of Police and the Security Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade to appear before it over their alleged role in the state security outfit, Operation Skolombo.

The outfit, which was set up by the state government to maintain peace and security in the state, comprises operatives from the Navy, Department of State Service (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

The chairman of the panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima (retd) gave the order at the resumed hearing of a petition filed before it by Prince Paul Effiong, a younger brother to one Emmanuel Ita Ephraim, who was allegedly killed by operatives of Operation Skolombo.

The younger Effiong had alleged that operatives of Operation Skolombo allegedly extra-judicially killed his elder brother, the late Emmanuel Ita Effiong.

He listed the defunct SARS, Calabar; Operation Skolombo; Corporal Mohammed Inuwa Hafiz; ACP Kabiru T. Salisu of the defunct SARS and the Inspector General of Police as respondents in the petition, marked 2020 IIP-SARS/ABJ/02.

The complainant had told the panel that his elder brother was shot on June 17, 2017, by men of Operation Skolombo while he was on his way to church.

While being cross-examined at the last sitting, the fourth respondent, ACP Salisu told the panel that police personnel were not part of Operation Skolombo on the day the late Ephraim was killed.

He, however, expressed his belief that the deceased was an armed robber who was shot dead during patrol by Operation Skolombo operatives.

The panel issued the order for the appearance of the state commissioner of police and Governor Ayade’s aide following the failure of the police to comply with its earlier order made at the last sitting on the petition on December 15, 2020, directing the police to bring a certified true copy of the police station diary. The police only came with a printed WhatsApp copy of the document to the sitting on Tuesday.

The panel has also ordered the appearance of ASP Marcus Joe, who was alleged to have deposited the remains of the late Ephraim at the mortuary of the General Hospital, Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

The panel further directed that certified true copies of the police station’s crime diary, where the movement of the deceased body was documented after he was allegedly killed by Operation Skolombo be presented to the panel.

The case has been adjourned till February 25 for the continuation of hearing.

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