Panel orders arrest of Police Commissioner over alleged unlawful arrest, disappearance of victim

The Independent Investigation Panel on Human Rights Violations has ordered the arrest of Igbeh Ochogwu, the Commissioner of Police, Legal Services, Force Headquarters over the unlawful arrest and disappearance of one John Alozie.

Retired Justice Suleiman Galadima, the chairman of the panel issued the arrest warrant on Monday following the CP’s failure to appear before the panel with the victim’s case file.

The panel is responsible for investigating allegations of Human Rights Violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian Police Force.

Back story

The victim’s wife had petitioned the Nigerian police over her husband’s arbitrary arrest, detention and disappearance.
She told the panel that her husband was charged to court and a judgement was issued which the court ordered the police to release the victim and his seized properties.
However, she alleged that the police are yet to comply with the court order which made her file the petition against them before the panel.
The respondents in the petition include; the Inspector-General of Police, ASP M.Obiozor of the defunct SARS Awkuzu, Anambra, Uzi Emeana and Sunday Okpe, Anambra Commissioner of Police.
Accounting to the panel, she said on June 15, 2017, six SARS operatives stormed their residence and arrested her husband. According to her, she was later informed that her husband was arrested for his involvement in an alleged kidnap case.

She said, “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.

What the panel is saying

The chairman of the panel said the CP left them with no choice but to issue the warrant for his arrest.

He 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 case file to enable the panel to unravel the truth about the whereabouts of Alozie in accordance with the law,” he said.

The chairman then adjourned the matter for Wednesday, April 27 to receive the progress report.

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