The Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of SARS and other related matters resumed its sitting today with 10 petitions listed for hearing today.
The first petition of Tomori Gbolagbade against the Nigeria Police was adjourned to February 6 at the instance of the police counsel, Joseph Eboseremen, who asked the panel to grant one more adjournment as the police was still experiencing difficulties with tracing the necessary files relevant for the case.
In the second petition of Sulaimon Raheem vs FSARS, the petitioner who walks with the aid of frames continued his testimony from where he stopped at a previous sitting.
He had testified at that sitting that he was shot by one corporal Sunday David sometime in 2016.
Today, he was asked to identify pictures of him taken while he was on the hospital bed and same was admitted as exhibits.
The panel also admitted in evidence an online publication on the police corporal, Sunday David, who was allegedly killed by a mob in the Agege area while trying to save the life of an internet fraudster.
The petitioner further testified saying: “when the corporal shot me, the matter was reported to the police but no one reached out to give me any form of assistance”.
“The doctor said if I want to travel out of the country to get proper treatment so I can walk, I need at least N10million. I’m begging this panel to please assist me. There’s no support from government or the family of the police who shot me”.
Under cross-examination from police counsel, Joseph Eboseremen, the petitioner admitted that he did not personally report the shooting at the police station as he was unconscious immediately after.
He, however, said he was informed that his people reported the matter at Elere Police Station, Orile Agege on the same day, January 10, 2016, before he was taken to the police station.
When asked for a copy of the police report or any other document to support this claim, he said it was missing along with some other receipts as he had been carried about from one hospital to another in search of healing.
As proof of his petition, the petitioner’s lawyer, Sylvester Agih, called a second witness, Raheem Abdulrasaq, who identified himself as an elder brother to the petitioner.
In his testimony, he said, “On 10th January, 2016, I received a call that my brother had been shot by a policeman at Agege area. I asked for his whereabouts and was told he was taken to the General Hospital at Agege. He was given first aid treatment at the Emergency Ward and then referred to Ikeja General Hospital. After treatment there, they referred us to LUTH. He was admitted in the emergency ward and they asked us to do full MRI scan at Mecure in Lekki.
“We took him there in an ambulance and took the results back to LUTH. The results showed his spinal cord was injured and he needed surgery. He was admitted and after treatment for some weeks they discovered that the bullet was no longer in his body as it had penetrated. After months, he was discharged and asked to go for intensive physiotherapist care.
“He couldn’t move his hands or legs. it was like he was paralyzed and we went to the Federal Medical Centre in Abeokuta”.
The panel then admitted Mecure MRI Scan & medical bills as exhibits as well a LUTH report by the Chief Radiographer.
“No compensation has been received. We are still indebted to friends and families who have been offering help”, the witness said.
The panel adjourned further proceedings in the petition till February 16.
In the third petition of Ndukwe Ekekwe vs FSARS, the panel received a letter from the counsel to the petitioner stating his inability to attend sitting because he lost his father and has had to travel for his burial.
The panel then adjourned till February 26 at the petitioners’ instance.
In the 4th petition of Olajide Fowotade, police counsel, Joseph Eboseremen said, “we made candid efforts to reach Dolapo Badmus (who had been summoned by the panel at its last sitting to say what she knows about the case) in Abuja, and we got no response. We went back to the divisions where the petitioner alleged that the incident took place and the officers who are conversant with the issues were said to be on their way, so we asked for a stand down or a short adjournment”.
Panel granted the request and ordered a short stand down.
The next petition was that of Albarka Youth Foodstuff Sellers Association vs Nigerian Police, the panel said it received a letter asking that the petition be withdrawn.
The panel chairman ruled, stating that “upon a letter for a withdrawal of this matter, the withdrawal not being objected to, the matter is accordingly struck out”.
In the 6th petition of Oladoyin Ademola, the petitioner is represented by Sylvester Agi who expressed his readiness to go on.
But the police counsel, Joseph Eboseremen made an objection, stating that “we have an issue, this petition mentions no police officer, no division. It is the duty of the petitioner to help this panel. Police has no less than 300,000 officers across the country and we cant embark on a wild goose chase looking for who is involved.
The petitioner counsel, Sylvester Agi in his response said, “we ask the panel to discountenance the objections because the petition clearly states Dopemu Police Station as well as the date on which the incident happened. We submit that the DPO of the station can identify the officers on duty on the said day and we ask that the petition be allowed on its merits.
The Panel Chairman, Justice Doris Okuwobi said she finds the objection strange. She reminded parties that the panel is a fact-finding body set up to deal with police brutality of citizenry and to recommend restitution. For this reason, the fact that there are no named officers is irrelevant.
She declared the objection baseless and not brought in good faith. It lacks merit and is dismissed. The petition will be heard by the panel.
Thereafter, the panel took a short recess to reconvene shortly after.