Yinka Odumakin, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, a Yoruba socio-cultural group, has asked the security agency to consult a better lawyer and stop embarrassing itself.
Odumakin was reacting to a suit filed by the Nigerian police to stop the various states' Judicial Panels of Enquiry probing abuses perpetrated by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
The police had, in a suit marked FHC/ ABJ/CS/1492/2020, filed by its lawyer, O.M Atoyebi, argued that the establishment of Panels of Inquiry by governors to investigate the activities of the force violates "section 241(1)(2)(a) and item 45, part 1, first schedule to the constitution and section 21 of the tribunals of inquiry act".
Among the defendants are the Attorney-General of the Federation, the National Human Rights Commission, the Attorneys-General of the states, and the chairmen of the panels set up by the states.
According to the force, the action of the governors "is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever".
It asked the court to restrain the defendants from conducting any investigation or setting up panels to probe the affairs of the security agency.
Speaking in an interview with SaharaReporters, Odumakin said the governors as chief security officers have jurisdiction over security issues in their respective states, while he advised the police to check the Law of Tribunal and Enquiry.
He said, "They can't be serious; the law is apparent. They should go and check the Law of Tribunal and Inquiry. The governors are the chief security officers of their states; they have jurisdiction over what happens in their states. They (the police) should consult better lawyers and know what to do.
"When governors buy vehicles for them, buy equipment for them, they can take it, but the governors can't ask them what they are doing. It doesn't make any sense at all. That's why we are asking for restructuring; we should have state police."
Also speaking, a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, described the suit as outrageous and obnoxious.
"Well, the action by the police is scandalous because the police are being investigated for violation of human rights and they are asking the court to stop the investigation because the panels, according to them, do not have the authority to do so.
"I find that very outrageous because it's an indication that they do not appreciate the seriousness of the agitations that led to the disbandment of SARS and these panels were not set up by the states on their own. It was a resolution of the National Economic Council which comprises the governors of the 36 states. The President has also given support to the constitution of these panels.
"The point is that these panels are not to convict these officers, so for them to say it's only the Federal Government that has power over the control of the police is wrong. The panels are not controlling the police; the panels won't discipline or sanction these officers; they will only make a recommendation.
"These are just fact-finding panels; I don't think there is a contravention of the law of the constitution as alleged. Unfortunately, the police have taken this obnoxious step which amounts to dancing on the graves of victims of SARS brutality and police abuse," Effiong told SaharaReporters.