The Nigeria Police Force has applied to withdraw its suit, praying for an order stopping the various states’ judicial panels of enquiry probing allegations of rights abuses and other acts of brutality of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police tactical units.
The suit was filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The decision to set up the various panels of enquiry which was challenged in the suit was taken by the members of National Economic Council including the 36 state governors and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in the aftermath of the recent nationwide #EndSARS protests demanding an end to police brutality.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had on Thursday, denied authorising the filing of the suit.
The plaintiff, therefore, through one of its lawyers, Festus Ibude, filed a notice of discontinuance of the suit on Friday.
“Take notice that the plaintiff herein intends to and doth hereby wholly withdraws its suit against all the defendants,” Ibude said.
The plaintiff had in the suit urged the court to restrain the Attorneys-General of the 36 states of the federation and their various panels of enquiry from going ahead with the probe focussing on police impunity.
The defendants, totaling 104, who were sued by the NPF, comprised the Attorney-General of the Federation; National Human Rights Commission which set up the Independent Investigative Panel sitting in Abuja; Attorneys-General of the states, and chairmen of the states’ panels.
The NPF, had through its lawyer, Mr O. M. Atoyebi (SAN), had argued in the suit that the state governments lacked the power to constitute the panels to investigate activities of the police force and its officials in the conduct of their statutory duties.
According to the plaintiff, the state governments’ decision to set up such panels violated the provisions of section 241(1)(2)(a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule to the Constitution and Section 21 of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act.
It argued that by virtue of the provisions of 241(1)(2)(a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule to the Nigerian Constitution only the Federal Government had exclusive power to “organise, control and administer the Nigeria Police Force.”