By Momodou Jarju
The National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights Monday postponed its meeting with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) due to the latter’s failure to appear before the august body.
The chairperson of the aforesaid assembly committee Madi Ceesay told this medium in an interview that the meeting was meant to look at the human rights violations and the compliance of the police in the implementation of some of the policies.
Ceesay said the NHRC came with their leadership, including the chairperson, executive director and deputy, head of legal department and other staff, while the IGP, Abdoulie Sanyang, was represented by a superintendent and a corporal.
“So when we sat, the committee decided that we cannot hear them because the two did not commensurate one another because while this one is headed by a full leadership, the other lacks that,” he said.
Explaining further, the Serrekunda West lawmaker said his-led committee had met both sides separately before Monday’s meeting which was aimed at bringing the two stakeholders together in a bid to bridge the gap that was in their previous meetings.
He said the committee has sent a message through the representative of the police to inform them of the postponement and it will write to both parties to inform them of a new date.
Ceesay said the committee wants the IGP and “anybody that can accompany him” to be present on that date, saying it is a decision-making issue which neither the corporal nor the superintendent cannot take.
Quizzed whether an action will be taken if the IGP fails to appear when a date is set for the next meeting, Ceesay expressed hope IGP Sanyang will be present in their next meeting. He added that he has been attending previous ones.
“Refusing to answer to the parliament is contempt because we are mandated to carry out this oversight function and the police are a law enforcement body. I do not think we will reach that point,” he said.
Asked whether the police representatives advanced any reason for the IGP’s absence, lawmaker Ceesay responded in the negative.
“…what he explained was because human rights is under his purview, he was asked by the admin to come and attend the meeting. I believe maybe there is a misunderstanding of the purpose of the meeting but actually this meeting purposefully is targeting both leaderships (NHRC and Police),” he said.