RIVERS, Nigeria – The State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said he is not a party to the directive by the National Executive Council, NEC for Governors to set-up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate activities of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, in their various states.
NEC, after its meeting Thursday, had directed the immediate establishment of state-based Judicial Panels of Inquiry to investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra judicial killings with a view to delivering justice for all victims of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squads (SARS) and other police units.
The Judicial Panels to be set up in all the states will include representatives of youths, students, civil society organizations and would be chaired by a respected retired State High Court Judge.
But Governor Wike is not having it.
Wike, while speaking on an interview on a live television programme monitored from Port Harcourt, wondered who will fund the panel of inquiry.
The Governor, who said the Federal Government is trivialising the demands by #EndSARS protesters by directing state governors to take charge of tactical commands of the police, stressed that he would not fund a judicial panel of inquiry of police that is being controlled by the Federal government.
He added that state governors cannot take charge of tactical commands because they cannot employ or discipline anyone who errs.
According to him, “Rivers State, we set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry that indicted SARS officers. Instead of the Police authorities punishing the indicted officers, they shielded them and even promoted one to the rank of an Assistant Inspector General.
“Now, the Federal Government wants us to set up another Commission of Inquiry when the report of the last one we set up was not implemented.
“We are in a Federal System. Issues cannot be addressed by the Federal Government giving directives to State Governors.
“There is need for all stakeholders to look at the various laws establishing the Police to determine the roles of Councils, States and the Federal Government.”