By Patrick Obia and Rachel Idim
The issue of jurisdiction has popped up again in the ongoing panel of Inquiry into Police Brutality and Restitution sitting in Cross River State.
The Police led by DSP Tehemba Dennis, had questioned the jurisdiction of the probe panel in the November 19, 2020 sitting which resulted to heated argument between the Police, panel members and NBA Calabar Branch Chairman, Paul Ibiala.
Tehemba said, “We are informing this panel that there is a pending suit against this panel challenging the jurisdiction of this panel to sit and determine matters against the respondent (Police). In suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1492/2020, the suit was filed by the respondent at the Federal High Court Abuja, against the 36 Chairmen of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry of Police Brutality in Nigeria, including all the 36 State Attorney Generals.
“You are the first defendant in Cross River State and the Secretary of this panel in his position as the Attorney General and Commissioner for justice of Cross River State; my lord we wish to inform this panel that in case the panel are yet to decide, we needed time to take step that the panel will be served between now and Monday. We apply that this matter against the respondent (panel) should be adjourned till further notice pending on the determination of the suit against the panel, that the panel should not be a defendant in a suit and be judging us.”
Reacting to the his submission, NBA Calabar Branch Chairman, Paul Ibiala accused the Police of applying delay tactics to cripple the panel adding that, they can’t sit and allow them (Police) truncate proceedings because it’s all based on speculations.
He submitted that since the panel have not been served, the panel should vehemently discountenance the application.
“We cannot sit here and allow him to come and truncate the hearing of the matter today by any speculative information of an action pending.
“We want to protest vehemently the application made by the respondent. The objection is predicted on the fact that, our law was not mapped on the basis of speculation, the application of the respondent is speculative. This is so because by his own admission this panel have not been served with any process. We are saying that the announcement of the pendency of the suit against the panel cannot serve as a scarecrow to stop this panel from operating.
“We submit that, the application of the respondent be discountenanced and the proceedings of this panel should continue. We will not continue to allow procedures to be abused before this panel.” He fumed.
In his ruling, retired Justice Michael Edem, jettisoned the application by the Police saying, “It is believed that faith is believing in what one does not see. This panel is not a faith tester or tabernacle or religious congregation; I will not believe on what I have not seen, it remains vanity upon vanity. This is not for a court of law, to those things I jettison and refuse the application in it’s entirety and declare the proceedings verily open and on.”
Barr. Joseph Ushie was cautioned for improper dressing.
The panel which sat on 2 and 3 of December adjourned to December 7, 10 and 14 for continuation.
See pictures below.
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.