By Femi Osipltan
A mild drama ensued at the Ogun State Judicial Panel of Investigation sitting at the Magistrate Court 1, Isabo, Abeokuta, when a police officer, Sergeant Adeleke Olalekan who accompanied CSP Gbenga Megbope, a respondent in a case, was allegedly caught committing contempt against Panel members right from his seat, while the Panel cross examines his supposed boss during the sitting.
The sergeant who was allegedly seen to be pointing finger and speaking disrespectfully in a manner suggestive of threat at panel members and could not explain why, was called up and booked for appropriate punishment as stipulated under the Commission of Inquiry law.
Reeling out the law against the offender, the Panel Chairman, Justice Solomon Olugbemi, said “any act of disrespect, insult or threat to the Commissioners or any Panel members while sitting in Commission or any act of disrespect, insult or threat to a Commissioner or Panel members at any other time or place on account of his proceedings in his capacity as a Commissioner or Panel member shall be deemed to be an act of contempt within the meaning of this law under Section 16 of the same law”.
Reading further, the Chairman revealed that, “any person who commits an act of contempt, whether the act is or is not committed in the presence of the Commissioners sitting in Commission, such person or persons shall be liable to summary conviction before a court of competent jurisdiction to be convicted and punished according to the tenet stipulated in the law”.
Justice Olugbemi noted that the Police Sergeant ought to be recommended for trial at the Magistrate court, however, the Panel member who was disrespected, pleaded that the alleged offender be pardoned, having apologized, prostrated and pleaded for mercy and showing remorse, the Panel have therefore refrained from recommending him for trial.
The Panel boss used the avenue to warn, saying, “the panel would no longer tolerate any act of disrespect to it or any of its members as the law would be allowed to take its course in any such further act”.
Speaking with journalists after the sitting, a former Commissioner of Police and the present Commandant of Amotekun Security Outfit in Ogun State, Mr. David Ajibola Akinremi who witnessed the proceedings commended the Panel for doing thorough job at investigating petitions brought before it.
The Amotekun boss added that, “the setting up of the Judicial Panel was a welcome development as the wrongs of the past can be seen and solution proffered towards ensuring a better working relationship between the police and the members of the public for a better policing and a safer society”.