The Nigeria Police Force (NPF), on Friday, withdrew the suit it filed to stop various panels of enquiry that are probing allegations of human rights abuses and impunity brought against the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The development came 48 hours after the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1492/2020, was filed before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court.
Although the matter was scheduled to be heard on December 18, 2020, the police through another lawyer, Mr. Festus Ibude, filed a notice of discontinuance of the suit, two days after it was filed.
The notice, reads: “Take notice that the plaintiff herein intends to and doth hereby wholly withdraws its suit against all the defendants.” The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had on Thursday, disowned the suit that was filed on behalf of the Force, by Mr. O. M. Atoyebi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
The IGP further queried the legal section of the Force over the alleged role it played in the institution of the legal action. He said the police remained committed to fulfilling all its obligations with regards to the disbandment of the defunct SARS, the ongoing proceedings of the judicial panels, and all other police reforms.
A statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, equally disclosed that officers that were involved in filing of the suit “may face further sanctions if found guilty of dereliction of duty”.
The plaintiff had in the withdrawn suit, sought an order to restrain Attorneys-General of the 36 states of the federation and their various panels of enquiry, from going ahead with their investigations.
Among 104 defendants listed in the suit included the Attorney-General of the Federation, National Human Rights Commission, Attorneys-General of the States, as well as Chairmen of panels that were recently set up by various States.
In the suit, police, contended that decision by governors to set up panels of inquiry to investigate its activities and that of its officers in the conduct of their statutory duties, was in violation of Section 241(1)(2)(a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule to the Constitution and Section 21 of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act.
The plaintiff maintained that by virtue of the provisions of 241(1)(2)(a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule to the Nigerian Constitution, only the Federal Government has exclusive power to organise, control and administer the Nigeria Police Force.
The Force argued that action of the state governors in setting up the panels to probe the NPF was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.