Attack on Female lawyer: Police Panel report contains falsehood – WACOL
The Women Aid Collective, WACOL, has rejected some portions of the report presented by the Panel of Enquiry set up by the Enugu State Police Command to investigate alleged assault on a female lawyer and some other staff of the organization.
ND REPORTERS reports that four policemen from the Abakpa Area Command of the Nigeria Police Force had allegedly invaded the WACOL office in Enugu and brutally assaulted some of the staff on duty, including a female lawyer, Mrs. Goodness Ibangah.
Following the development, the Commissioner of Police in the State, CP Ahmed Abdurrahman constituted the panel of enquiry headed by a senior police officer in the command.
In its report presented on Monday, the Panel, however, said its investigations showed that the alleged beating was false, even as it claimed no WACOL property was damaged.
It said it only discovered that there was ‘dragging’, and that the policemen involved in the act would be punished.
In a reaction, the Executive Director of WACOL, Prof. Mrs. Joy Ezeilo who addressed a press briefing on Wednesday said the report contained contradictions.
She maintained that contrary to the claims of the report, Goodness was beaten to stupor by the policemen.
“That she was beaten is an incontrovertible fact,” she said, adding that “she was equally dragged on her trousers like a common criminal.
“The report contains contradictions between the testimonies, the findings and the recommendations.
“We still maintain that our staff were brutalized; the panel cannot say they can’t find the damaged door.”
On why she did not appear before the Panel, the professor of law recalled that she had ab-initio rejected the membership of the panel.
“I said it as soon as the Panel was set that I wanted a National Panel, an independent panel; the police cannot be the judge, the jury and defence counsel in their own case. You cannot be a judge in your own case.
“So, my appearance would not have made any difference; I actually went there and told the Panel that I have a petition which I had already written, they refused to collect it; they said I should submit it to the CP.”
Ezeilo said the Panel having admitted in their recommendations that the police officers should be sanctioned, “we want to know what is the disciplinary action, by now they ought to have been suspended.
“The deep corruption that led to the invasion of the WACOL office is yet to be investigated.
“The police were unduly and corruptly enriched, that is why they invaded the WACOL office.
“We need them suspended immediately. We will activate all channels available to us to get justice; we have not got justice.”
Meanwhile, the female lawyer, Goodness, who was present at the press briefing, presented a graphic detail of how she was allegedly brutalized by the said policemen.
She said the attack on her continued even at the Area Command office where one of the police officers said they did not care if she died.
“At a point, I started feeling dizzy, so I requested for water and medical help but they ignored me; they were making a mockery of me and calling me all sorts of names.
“One of them told me that it won’t be the first time a lawyer would die in their custody, that she has actually witnessed one before.
“That was the last I could remember until I passed out and later found myself surrounded by doctors and nurses at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu,” she narrated.