#EndSARS: Lagos Panel Minimises Oral Testimony To Fast-Track Petitions

Channels Television  
Updated July 31, 2021
Members of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution at a sitting on March 30, 2021


The Lagos Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS and other related abuses says it will begin the process of front-loading as a means of fast-tracking the remaining petitions pending before it.

The front-loading will take effect from August 2.

Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi announced this on Saturday during proceedings.

The front-loading process means that the petitioners will state their petitions in writing and the panel will adopt it and begin cross-examination.

Front-loading is a deviation from the usual panel session where petitioners orally recount their ordeals in the hands of security operatives before cross-examination from the lawyers to the police, state lawyers, and sometimes lawyers representing the panel and even the Nigerian Bar Association.

Justice Okuwobi said that the new development will reduce to the barest minimum the amount of time spent on petitions and ensure speedy dispensation of justice.

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“It is important that every petition or petitioner be given an equal duty of being heard and to achieve that task we have put in place amendment of front loading of the processes which will be more time-saving in terms of sitting and in terms of working outside the panel,” Justice Okuwobi said.

“So, this will now take effect from the 2nd of August. It will determine the listing of fresh petitions which have not been open. The earlier you comply with the rules by front-loading, …we will then have cause to list fresh matter that can then come up before the panel.

“It is our appeal that petitioners in particular who do not understand the process seek advice on the front-loading, the rules are very clear, just. We want your evidence on the affidavit, evidence of your cases on the affidavit. What you have in the petition just has to be put in place of an affidavit and sworn to the court, so the evidence of the witnesses.

“I’m sure petitioners are not going to have any difficulty with complying with the front-loading process.

“And all documents you want to present to the panel should come in ahead of the hearing of the petition and properly served on the respondents.”