ABUJA—The Independent Investigation Panel on Human Rights Violations by the defunct SARS and other units of the Nigeria Police Force has issued a warrant of arrest on the Commissioner of Police in charge of Legal Services at the Force Headquarters, CP Igbeh Ochogwu.
The arrest order is 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 Deputy Director Public Affairs, Force Headquarters, Fatimah Mohammed, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, said the CP had been ordered on several occasions to appear before the panel with the casefile of the victim (Alozie), but failed to honour the summon, despite adjourning the petitions five times to allow more time for the CP to do the needful.
Displeased by the ugly development, chairman of the panel Justice Suleiman Galadima, retd, who issued the arrest warrant on the top police officer, observed that the attitude of Ochogwu was unbecoming of a lawyer and officer of the Police Force.
According to the eminent jurist, the only option left for the panel was to issue a warrant of arrest on the CP Legal and mandate the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, to write to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, LPDC, to report Ochogwu’s conduct in the matter.
Justice Galadima said: “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 to report Ochogwu’s conduct in the matter.
“The CP has flagrantly and repeatedly disobeyed the order of the panel, having refused to turn in the said casefile to enable the panel to unravel the truth about the whereabouts of Alozie in accordance with the law.”
He noted that 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 Alozie in accordance with the law, and adjourned the case to today.
The respondents in the matter are ASP M. Obiozor of the defunct SARS, Awkuzu, Anambra; Uzi Emeana; Sunday Okpe, Anambra Commissioner of Police and the Inspector-General of Police.
NAN reports that wife of the victim, Nnenna, had in her testimony said her husband’s case was heard in a high court and judgement delivered.
She added that the court ordered that the police should release the victim as well as his seized property.
According to her, the police refused to obey the order of the court and that prompted her filing this petition before the panel.
On Dec. 2, 2021, in her testimony, she alleged that six SARS operatives stormed their residence in Lekki, Lagos, on June 15, 2017, and whisked her husband away.
She said she later got to know that her husband was arrested for his involvement in an alleged kidnapping in the course of searching everywhere for her husband and the reason for his arrest.
“Since the day they arrested my husband, I have not seen him and I don’t know his whereabouts.”
“After the SARS operatives arrested my husband, they ransacked our bedroom and went away with some of our personal belongings, which include certificates and other documents, money,, a Lexus and a Ford, parked in our house,” she said.