The Independent Investigative Panel on human rights violations on Friday, ordered that the police produce SP Monday Christopher (Rtd) to appear before it to answer to the alleged disappearance of Lukman Suleiman.
The panel is investigating the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, and other Units of the Nigeria Police Force.
The 11-member panel which is chaired by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Suleiman Galadima, gave this order at the hearing of a petition on alleged enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest, unlawful detention and denial of Justice.
The victim’s whereabouts is not known and police failed to produce Christopher, the key witness, to tell the panel what he knows about the victim’s disappearance.
Garba Tetengi, SAN, who represented Justice Galadima maintained that there was still need to know the whereabouts of the victim.
The panel ordered that Christopher, who was previously served notice of hearing, is to be served again, a written order through the CP Legal compelling his appearance before the panel at the next sitting.
For The last time, Christopher should appear before the panel.
Failure to appear before it this panel at the next sitting will however leave the panel with no other choice than to make certain inferences as the panel seems fit.
The matter before this panel is a very important one . The entire world is desirous of knowing the whereabouts of Suleiman whether dead or alive.
Consequently, Christopher is ordered through the Commissioner of Police Legal to appear before the panel,” he said.
The matter was then adjourned until Nov. 24.
Earlier, John Martins, representing the Nigerian Bar Association on the panel said:”this has equal Powers with the High Court and as such the order is binding on relevant persons or institutions”.
Responding, Mr Fidelis Ogbobe, counsel for the respondent said, it will be difficult for the police to serve an order compelling the appearance of the retired police officer.
He insisted however that it is the responsibility of the panel to serve
Christopher personally through the Commissioner of Police Legal.
At the last hearing, Ogbobe promised to produce the witness.
“I couldn’t locate him, I don’t have a witness,” he said.
Reacting, counsel to the petitioner, Divine Davies, prayed the panel to foreclose the defence and order for written addresses to be made by both counsels.