X-Raying Osinbajo's Kangaroo Panel of Investigation
While President Muhammadu Buhari was away for a medical sojourn to London, the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who was then acting in the capacity of his superior, instituted the Presidential Investigation Panel to Review Compliance of The Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligations and Rules of Engagement.
As the name implies, the panel is set look into the alleged violations of human rights by members of the Nigerian military while discharging their duties. This is sequel to the colossal outcry by CBOs, CSOs, NGOs and other international rights organizations, including Amnesty International over gross violation of human rights.
There were mixed reactions following the inauguration of the Panel. Most Pundits are of the notion that the Panel will be characterized by fairness --since according to them the idea was hatched by a Professor of Law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria --in person of the then Acting President.
Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria decided to boycott the panel, seeing how the Kaduna Judicial Commission of Inquiry (JCI) ended up in mess. Not even that, JCI was an afterthought because the El -Rufa'i-led Kaduna State Government has demolished all the buildings of IMN including Sheikh Zakzaky's mother's grave.
To add insult to an injury, all the Commissioners were unapologetic foes of IMN and its leadership. It's an unassailable fact that Professors Umar Labdo and Salihu Shehu are at the forefront in condemning the activities of IMN, which is reflected in their speeches and writings.
Later, the IMN legal team reverse it decision to appear before the Federal Government panel.
On Wednesday, October 18 counsel to IMN, Maxwell Kyon, Esq. prayed to the panel seeking Sheikh Zakzaky's appearance before the panel in Kaduna and move the plenary to Abuja which will give his client the impetus to attend.
Much had transpired, but to make a long story short, only one plea was fulfilled --moving it to Abuja.
The Presidential Investigation Panel to Review Compliance of The Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligations and Rules of Engagement now agrees that Sheikh Zakzaky should, appear and present his case but the appearance according to them is going to be secret. That Sheikh Zakzaky should testify in tape which will later be played during the sitting. Worthy of note, Journalists, Lawyers and rights activists are to be barred from witnessing the recording.
With this assertion, the hope of pundits who build hope upon the panel of investigation has been dashed. The moral ground of the panel is now in question. How can such panel administer justice to the oppressed, knowing fully that a video is subjected to editing? No advocate of social justice will see this move as right one, or process that will give birth to fairness.
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and his Trojan horses, if want to be taken serious must allow Sheikh Zakzaky to appear physically before the panel to give his own version of the story. It is incontrovertible that his appearance will open Pandora's box in the polity which some mischief makers are afraid of.