Police refuse hearing notices on 68 petitions served by Oyo judicial panel
• As panel orders fresh notices to be served
There were allegations that the Nigeria Police in Oyo State had been refusing hearing notices served by the Oyo State Judicial Panel on petitions filed by some aggrieved members of the public over allegations of police brutality.
This revelation was made on Tuesday at the inaugural sitting of the Oyo State Judicial Panel as it was reported that the panel had issues with hearing notices on 68 of the filed petitions.
The panel is one of the bodies saddled with the responsibility of looking into the petitions submitted by members of the public on allegations of police brutality and victimisation in line with the Federal Government’s instructions that each state set up a panel of inquiry on the heels of the 2020 nationwide EndSARS protests.
The panel is expected to evaluate the evidence presented and draw conclusions on the veracity of the allegations presented before it.
At the sitting which held at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat in Ibadan, some of the petitioners were not present to prosecute their petitions while some that were present do not have the respondents in their matters present before the panel.
It was alleged before the panel that the Nigeria Police rejected service to appear before the panel to defend themselves on the petition when served.
One of such cases is that of a petitioner, Olayiwola Oyedokun against Police officers at Iyana Offa police station in Ibadan.
The legal officer informed the panel that the police at Iyana Offa refused to be served the panel summons.
Another case was that of an officer of the Nigerian Army, Adebayo Aderijo Samuel against the Nigeria Police where it was also alleged that the police refused to be served the summons.
Speaking on this development and the absence of the police at the sitting, the Chairman of the panel, former Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Badejoko Adeniji, frowned at this attitude by the police and ordered fresh notices to be served on them.
Justice Adeniji said the panel would visit the new Commissioner of Police, Mrs Ngozi Onadeko, to let her know the essence of sending representatives to defend them before the panel.
Earlier in her inaugural speech, Justice Adeniji vowed that the panel would deliver on its duties without fear or favour.
In his goodwill message, the Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr Yinka Esan, said the association has mandated its members to provide free legal services to any petitioner who could not afford legal fees and urged members of the panel to carefully examine the evidence before making their decisions.
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