SARS Extrajudicial Killings: Cross River panel adjourns sitting


The independent investigation panel investigating human rights violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the police on Tuesday adjourned for the adoption of written addresses by both the prosecution and defence.

This move came after the police counsel, Mr Fidelis Ogbobe, told the panel that he had no witnesses to call.

The panel chairman, Suleiman Galadima (retd.), had earlier directed the police commissioner in Cross River and the security adviser to the governor to appear before it.

This was in connection with their alleged roles in Operation Skolombo, which resulted in the death of one Emmanuel Ita Ephraim.

The panel also ordered ASP Marcus Joe to appear before it, following his alleged role in depositing Ephraim’s remains in the mortuary of the General Hospital, Calabar.

The panel also mandated the police to produce before the panel a certified true copy of the police station’s crime diary where the movement of the deceased body was documented after Operation Skolombo operatives allegedly killed him.

At the panel’s resumed sitting on Tuesday, the counsel to the police said he did not have any witnesses to call.

Mr Galadima subsequently adjourned the sitting until December 2 to adopt written addresses by both prosecution and defence.

Paul Offiong had petitioned on behalf of his late brother, alleging the extrajudicial killing of Mr Ephraim.

In his petition, Mr Offiong joined the defunct SARS Calabar, Operation Skolombo, Calabar, Col. Mohammed Inuwa Hafiz, SP Kabiru Salisu and the Inspector-General of Police.

On November 30 and December 15, 2020, Offiong testified before the panel. He explained that on June 17, 2017, his brother was shot by the operatives while Mr Ephraim was on his way to church.

Operation Skolombo includes DSS, Navy and NSCDC operatives, a security outfit set up by the Cross River government to maintain peace and order.

Under cross-examination, the fourth respondent ACP Kabiru Salisu told the panel that the police personnel were not part of Operation Skolombo when Mr Ephraim was killed.