There was a mild drama during the sitting of the Ogun State Judicial Panel of Enquiry, when a police sergeant, Adeleke Olalekan prostrated and begged for mercy after he was caught threatening a member of the panel.
The police officer, in mufti, had accompanied a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Gbenga Megbope, who was being cross-examined over a case before the panel.
It was gathered that Olalekan was caught pointing a finger at a member of the panel, in a manner suggestive of threat, during the sitting at Magistrate Court 1, Isabo, Abeokuta on Monday, 18 January.
A member of the panel, who witnessed Olalekan’s reactions, quickly raised the alarm, and the Chairman of the Panel, Justice Solomon Olugbemi (rtd) asked the Sergeant to come forward and explain the rationale behind his action.
A retired Deputy Inspector General of Police and a member of the panel, Peter Ogunyanwo, asked the Sergeant why he was disrespecting members of the panel.
The sergeant could not explain his action but instead prostrated before the panel members, and begged for mercy.
“I don’t disrespect you, sir. I know you sir (referring to the retired DIG). I can’t disrespect you, sir,” the sergeant said.
On his part, Megbope, who was the Commander of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) at Obada Oko, also begged on the Sergeant’s behalf, saying “We are sorry sir.”
Reeling out the law against such action, the Panel Chairman, 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,”
“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,” he added.
Olugbemi noted that the Police Sergeant ought to be recommended for trial at the Magistrate court, but pardoned him following the pleading and apology.
He, however, warned that the panel would no longer tolerate any act of disrespect to it or any of its members.