The Independent Investigative Panel (IIP) formed by the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) on the command of the federal government to probe rights abuse and other indecent conducts by policemen has shifted its resumption date.
The Nation learned that members of the IIP were to resume sitting today after observing the Christmas and New Year breaks.
But when our correspondent arrived at the venue of the panel’s sitting, he was met with a closed door. This showed that they were no intention for the panel to sit.
After gathering information, it was discovered that the members of the panel refused to resume sitting based on unpaid allowances.
A close source to the panel said that the members were supposed to arrive in Abuja during the weekend in preparation to resume yesterday but they were told not to come yet due to inadequate resources.
The panel consists of nine members coming from various locations across the country. They come from Lagos, Gombe, Enugu, Rivers, and other states. The panel is expected to conduct six months sitting. Only three months have been completed based on the fact that it started in October last year.
“The panel has received over 300 petitions and more you come from all over the country. It seems Nigerians prefer the panel to those in the government.
” It i.e the panel has a lot on their hands to attend to, but their only clog in the wheel is inadequate funding. That is why it may not resume sitting any time soon, perhaps until the issue is addressed”, the source said.
The NHRC on the other hand gave an entirely different reason as to why the panel suspended its sitting date. Mrs. Fatimah Agwai, NHRC’s spokeswoman said the postponement was to place compliance with the FG’s COVID-19 protocols.
“It is not true that funding is responsible. We decided to re-adjust the panel’s activities given the increasing threat of COVID-19. We don’t want to put our workers, panel members, complainants, and their lawyers at risk.
“We have decided to suspend proceedings pending when we can put in place all the necessary measures to ensure we operate at no health risk to anybody. “We are currently also re-adjusting our cause list to reduce the number of petitions to be taken daily, while also working on the duration of sitting daily,” she said.
Mrs. Fatimah also said that the commission needed extra funding to put in place all it needs to ensure that everyone has his/her safety guaranteed before the panel can resume sitting.