The Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of SARS has issued a bench warrant to summon Hon. Rasaq Ajala, the Chairman of Odi-Olowo/Ojuwoye Local Council Development Area.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi issued the warrant on Tuesday at the instance of the police counsel, Cyril Ajiofor who told the panel that the Chairman had again failed to honour the summons issued to him to appear.
Today’s proceeding makes it the third time, that Hon Ajala would be ignoring the summons of the panel.
At previous sittings, the panel had summoned the LCDA Chairman to assist with information in the petition filed by the family of late Adeshina Adeosun against the Nigerian police.
Adeosun, a taxi driver was allegedly shot by officers of the Nigerian police force, Olosan division on October 20, 2020.
His family claims that his body is still with the police. They are therefore seeking the help of the panel to retrieve the body. The family is also seeking compensation for his extra judicial Killing.
The police are however challenging the facts as put forward by the family. Through their counsel, Cyril Ajiofor, they had asked the panel to summon the Chairman of Odi-Olowo/Ojuwoye LCDA who they say is seized of the incident and has personal information that can assist the panel in its fact finding.
But the chairman has consistently failed to appear. Before the bench warrant was issued, the police counsel had first made an application asking the panel to nominate a few lawyers to meet with the Chairman ‘in camera’ to get the necessary information from him, a move which the petitioners counsel and the panel strongly opposed.
The Lagos State Government has raised objections to the hearing of the petition brought by the family of the late journalist, Pelumi Onifade before the Lagos judicial panel on restitution for victims of SARS abuses and other matters.
Twenty-year-old Pelumi was allegedly killed by police officers attached to the Lagos State Task Force on October 25, 2020 and his body dumped at the mortuary of the state’s general hospital, Ikorodu.
On November 6, 2020, his family had submitted a petition before the Lagos judicial panel with the hope of getting justice.
But when the panel moved to hear the petition, the lead counsel to the Lagos State Government, Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN) told members that there was a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the panel to hear it.
“We have personal and specific instruction as regards this matter,” Owonikoko said.
In a five-page preliminary objection dated the 10th of April, the state government listed three grounds of objection namely;
(a) That the subject matter of the petition as presently constituted does not fall within the terms of reference upon which the panel was constituted and as such the panel lacked the justification to entertain the petition
(b) That it is ultra vires the jurisdiction of the panel to entertain the person as the unfortunate events recounted therein were not alleged to be perpetrated by the disbanded SARS.
(c) That the unfortunate incident in the petition allegedly occurred on the 25th day of Oct 2020 long after the SARS had been disbanded and the amended instrument establishing the panel of inquiry was promulgated.
In a written address in support, the government stated that the petition suffered from double disqualification in line with the terms of reference of the panel, as the alleged incident was not perpetrated by SARS and it also occurred outside the time frame within which SARS was active.
Owonikoko said: “It is crystal clear that the totality of the petitioner’s petition before this honourable panel bears out irrefutable and without any equivocation that the petition is against the men of the Nigeria Police Force attached to the Lagos State Environmental Task Force and not against the activities of the men of the disbanded SARS.”
The government, therefore, urged the panel to dismiss the petition, refer the petitioner to the regular court and to hold among other things that the panel is not instituted to hear all matters relating to the police but specifically to the activities of men of the disbanded SARS.
The acting Chief Medical Examiner of Lagos State, Dr. Sunday Soyemi today testified before the judicial panel on restitution for victims of SARS-related abuses.
He showed the panel a bullet he extracted from a victim of an extrajudicial killing, Charles Otoo.
At a previous proceeding, the panel had summoned the doctor to shed more light on the cause of death of the late Charles Otoo.
In a petition put before the panel by his widow, Victoria, the late Charles was said to have been shot on Oct 21, 2020, at about 6 pm by men of the Nigerian Police Force, Divisional Headquarters, Ojodu.
According to the widow, a policewoman simply identified as Chinyere allegedly shot the gun which hit the late Charles Otoo by the side of his head. He reportedly lost a lot of blood and eventually died at about 8 pm at the hospital where he was rushed.
At the proceedings today, Dr Soyemi, a lecturer in the college of medicine, Lasuth and a pathologist of 17 years, testified that “the cause of death was a severe injury to the brain following a gunshot to the skull”.
The pathologist who also signed the post mortem report of the deceased showed the panel the bullet he extracted from the late Charles Otto in the course of examining him.
He said the bullet would still need to undergo ballistic examination before the coroner’s court.
After sighting the bullet, the panel admitted photographs of it in evidence and returned the bullet back to the doctor to enable it to undergo the necessary examinations and analysis.
The panel also admitted the post mortem report as evidence.
The panel then listened to a police witness who testified that contrary to the evidence of Mrs Victoria Otoo, the police had nothing to do with the death of the late Charles.
The police witness, Lukeman Sowemimo, who claimed he was the station officer at the Ojodu police station at the time denied that his station had any female officer named Chinyere.
He narrated how some #EndSARS protesters allegedly set part of the police station ablaze on the 22nd of Oct., 2020 but insisted that the officers stayed back in the station to protect it and themselves and did not go out for any patrol.
When shown the bullet brought by the pathologist, and asked if he could identify it, the witness said from his experience, the bullet came from a pistol.”
“The difference between a pistol and a rifle is that pistol can only kill at a close range while a rifle can kill from any distance. I am not a ballistician, but with my experience as a mobile man, if I see pistol ammunition, I can differentiate it from an AK 47 ammunition,” he said.
Under cross-examination by counsel to the petitioner, Mr Adebola Lema, the witness admitted that police officers sometimes carry pistols.
On the question of the maximum range of an AK 47 when shot? The witness put the range at 40metres and said that even at that range it can still do maximum damage if it hits someone.
On further cross-examination by counsel to the Lagos State Government, Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), the counsel asked the witness; “We had a General (from the Nigerian Army) testify before the panel that the AK 47 could cause damage even up to 350m? Do you agree?
The witness answered in the affirmative.
The Petitioner’s counsel, Adebola Lema has adopted his final written address and asked the panel to take note of the inconsistency in the answer given by the witness as to the maximum range of the Ak 47.
The Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of SARS and other related matters on Tuesday heard the petition of a man who accused men of the Nigeria Police Force of battering him.
Monday Ojon was among the 10 petitions listed for hearing.
The panel reserved judgment till a later date in three of the petitions. It also heard the encounter between a petitioner Ojon and the Nigerian police.
Ojon testified that he was stripped naked and beaten by a police officer even when he did not commit any offence.
“On 4th December 2013, I was coming from CMS, going to Tinubu, a policeman Mr. Kabiru with force number 354962, he was coming with a stick and gun in both hands respectively, and he asked where I was going? I told him I was going to Tinubu. He said I should kneel down, I asked for what? He said I should kneel down now and he started to beat me with the stick until the stick got broken into pieces,” he said.
“He picked another plank and started beating me with it until I knelt down. He told me to remove my clothes, but I refused and started shouting which attracted passers-by, he said he would waste me and cocked the gunshot it into the air. He told me to undress naked, he then told me to start crawling from that point to CMS bus stop with others whom we met on the way.
“Some motorists who accosted him were threatened and they left. He also told a man and a girl to kneel down and when they refused, he shot into the air. A friend and motorcyclist who saw me asked what I did, when I told him what happened, he said he was going to report at Adeniji Adele police station.
“A fellow policeman who saw us, talked to him privately and asked for my cloth. I told him that my cloth was at the other end, he then told me to go and take my cloth and go. Suddenly, a lion building police patrol van with the DPO came to the scene and took me to lion building and told me to go and treat myself because I had been battered.”
According to the petitioner, efforts to get justice at the Lion Building Police Station did not yield any results. Instead he says he was offered a paltry ₦100, 000 which he refused.
The petitioner is seeking adequate compensation and he wants the panel to help him get justice against the police office, Mr. Kabiru who he alleged committed the assault.
The Petitioner, a stock investor, had told the panel that he was unlawfully arrested and detained by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) from July 17 to Aug 10, 2015, without bail with respect to a trumped-up allegation of using a fraudulent cheque to lift 4 tankers of Automotive Gas oil (AGO) from the Kirikiri Depot of Techno oil.
He said the allegations were made by the three management staff of Techno oil to the police.
The petitioner asked the panel to summon all three to testify so that he can clear his name, and seek compensation from the police for his alleged unlawful arrest and detention.
A petitioner, Lucky Philemon who testified today before the Lagos State judicial panel has asked to be paid compensated with the sum of ₦200m as damages for the inconvenience of losing his limbs at the Lekki toll gate protest of Oct 20, 2020.
Philemon who says he was shot on the night of October 20 is also demanding ₦1.5m for psychological evaluation, ₦5m for the cost of subsequent medical care and $50,000 for Prosthetic limbs.
The petitioner was led in evidence by his lawyer, Oluwole Bamgbala.
In his testimony said, “On the 20th October 2020, I was at Lekki tollgate with others, when the military came at around 6-7 pm and started shooting.
“We all sat on the ground; they shot me on my left leg. I slumped, when I woke up, I saw myself in the midst of dead protesters, somebody now said this one is still alive because I raised my hand.
“Then I was rescued and taken to Reddington Hospital Lekki. I was taken to the theatre where the doctor said they have to amputate my leg,” he said.
Philemon, who claimed he spent 32 days at the hospital tendered in evidence photographs showing his physical state before and after the amputation of his leg.
He asked the panel to pay him the compensation to enable him to rebuild his life around the sad new reality foisted on him by government agents at the Lekki toll gate on the 20th of Oct.
Under cross-examination, the counsel to the Lagos State government, Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN) however pointed out some inconsistencies in his testimony.
“The petitioner has a discrepancy about his state of origin, he is from Plateau state and not Kaduna state as stated in his petition.
“Philemon who also stated that he had worked for a construction company for three days before the incident could not produce his identity card.
“He also admitted that he was still at the Lekki tollgate plaza till about 8 pm but the counsel says, “from videos in circulation, the vicinity of the Lekki tollgate had been evacuated at about 8 pm,” Owonikoko said..
Contrary to the claims that he was shot at about 6-7 pm when the military came to the toll gate, the counsel said medical records show that the petitioner was brought to Reddington Hospital at 11:30 pm and he was said to have stated on arrival at the hospital that he was shot 30 minutes before his arrival.
The cross-examination was stalled when the panel realised that the medical records of the petitioner was not in evidence before the panel.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi, thereafter adjourned all cases involving victims who got treatments at various hospitals to a date to be communicated to their counsel. The panel did this so it could access the medical records from Reddington and other Hospitals.
Justice Okuwobi held that, “Reddington and other Hospitals will be contacted and their medical records subpoenaed, due to this all cases connected to the hospitals will be adjourned to another day to be communicated to parties.”
The Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of SARS and other related matters on Saturday said petitions against the Nigerian Army will go on despite their absence yet again.
Counsel to some victims of #EndSARS protests, Yinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN) told the panel that he has an application to bring some witnesses to testify before the panel.
The witnesses will counter the testimony of the army personnel, Brigadier-General Ahmed Ibrahim Taiwo, the Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade in Victoria Island, Lagos who had earlier testified before the panel before the military stopped attending the proceedings.
The panel has adjourned till March 20 to hear the testimony of the witnesses.
The panel then moved on to listen to the testimony of a petitioner, Lucky Philemon who said he was shot at the Lekki toll gate protest on the night of October 20, 2020.
His cross-examination by counsel to the state government was stalled when the panel realised that the medical records of the petitioner were not in evidence before the panel.
The panel then adjourned all cases involving all Lekki toll gate victims who got treatments at various hospitals to a date to be communicated to their counsel. The panel did this so it could access the medical records from Reddington and other hospitals.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi said the hospitals will be contacted and their medical records subpoenaed. After this, all cases connected to the hospitals were adjourned.
The Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of SARS and other related matters has summoned the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Commissioner of police in charge of Legal Dept, Abuja, the AIG Co-Operative Police College, Ikeja and the Surveyor-General of Lagos State.
Justice Doris Okuwobi summoned the four persons on Tuesday in relation to a petition involving a bed-ridden 76-year-old petitioner, Prince Adewale Adewuyi who appeared before the panel.
The petitioner alleged police brutality, aggravated assault after his 26 acres of land in Age-Mowo village Badagry was forcefully taken over by the police in December 2013. The land is said to be worth over ₦800m.
His lawyer, Debo Adeleke told the panel that the police has continued to frustrate the efforts of the petitioner to retrieve his land despite the alternative dispute recommendations made by the Citizens Mediation Center (CMC) of the Lagos High Court.
Mr. Adeleke urged the panel to summon the IGP and the other Police officers to appear before it at the next adjourned date to explain why the Police continue to disobey the resolutions as reached by the CMC.
The Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi granted the request and ordered the petitioner, to serve the IGP, AIG Co-operative, COP Legal Dept, and Surveyor-General of Lagos State within seven days to state their own side of the story.
The panel has adjourned to March 30 for a report of settlement.
The counsel asked for an adjournment to enable him to bring the officers mentioned, urging the petitioner to bring all relevant medical documents at the next adjourned date.
In her ruling, the Chairman of the Panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi adjourned the petition to February 20.
Other Petitions Heard
The judicial panel also heard nine other petitions on cases involving police brutality in the state.
The first two petitions involving Francis Idum and Francis Okpara were adjourned for lawyers on both sides to perfect their final written addresses for adoption.
In the third petition, the police counsel told the panel that its witness, CSP Ayodele Olaphilip Arugbo was a target of the #EndSARS protests in the Olosan-Mushin community, and he and his family have had to flee Lagos.
The counsel specifically said that the witness was the DPO who resisted the burning of his police station in the area. As a result of this, the witness has been the subject of several attacks.
The counsel, therefore, asked the panel for a further date ‘to see if the witness could be brought to testify in camera’.
The counsel to the petitioner, S.O Are objected to the request for an adjournment. He urged the panel to close the police’s case.
Reacting, Justice Okuwobi held that closing the case of the police would not meet the interest of justice. She granted an adjournment till February 23 and also ordered that witness summons be issued to one Azeez Asogba who had been mentioned at a previous proceeding as a necessary witness to help the panel unravel the facts behind the petition.
The 5th and 6th petitioners were absent, and the panel adjourned their petitions to February 26.
The panel Chairman also ordered that hearing notices be issued to them.
The 7th petition was also adjourned owing to the absence of the petitioner’s counsel and the 8th petitioner who was absent was also not represented by a counsel.
The panel thereafter adjourned the petition to February 23.
The Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of SARS and other related matters on Saturday listed six petitions, for hearing.
Of the six, only two could be heard. In the first petition of Canaan Chukwuezi, the counsel to the Nigerian Police, Joseph Eboseremen told the panel that this was the second time the case was being called but the petitioner was absent just as he was the first time.
The counsel asked the panel to strike out the petition for a lack of diligent prosecution.
The counsel to the panel, Jonathan Ogunsanya, however, pleaded that the petitioner is given the very last opportunity to appear and present his case.
The Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi granted the request. She adjourned till the 20th of Jan. and ordered that hearing notices be sent out to the petitioner. She also said that failure to appear at the next sitting will be detrimental to the petitioner’s case.
In the second petition of Francis Ossajokweh, the petitioner was available and he promptly took the stand to narrate his petition.
Led by his counsel, S.O Are, Francis, a driver with Flour Mills (who lives in Satellite Town, Lagos) told the panel what happened on the 15th of Aug 2020.
“At about 4 pm, I was arrested and taken to Olosan police station, Mushin in respect of a car I bought from one Mr Afeez Asogba. At about 4.30 pm, I was taken to the orderly room and asked questions about how I got the car. Even before my explanations, I was being beaten by one officer, Mr Taiwo,” he said.
“Later CSP Arogba came and asked how I got the car. After explaining he asked Mr Taiwo to handcuff me and then told me to produce the gun I used in robbing the owners of the car.
“He handcuffed and beat me to the extent that my bone dislocated. I kept insisting that I had proof that I bought the car and I asked them to investigate. Instead, he said he will beat me till blood comes out from me and later he threw me and my mechanic, Mr Gbenga in the cell.
“I have receipts, photocopies particulars of the car and photocopies of the bank transfer I did for the purchase of the car.”
The petitioner was then allowed to identify same and his counsel asked to be allowed to tender them as exhibits
There were no objections from the other parties on the request for the exhibits to be admitted in evidence and the panel admitted same.
The Exhibits said to be of a green Toyota Yaris car was admitted in evidence.
“Do you have anything to show the torture you endured in the SARS detention,” his lawyer asked.
Petitioner: Yes! I have photos. I seek to tender the same as evidence.
The panel admitted three photographs of the petitioner with bandages as evidence.
In continuation, the petitioner said “On 16th Aug, I was transferred to SARs Ikeja and taken to OC SARS office with my mechanic. I explained. He acted professionally and told me to let them know who I bought the car from. I told him and he asked that I be detained while the investigation commenced.
“I was bailed the next day after my family paid N255,000 cash which included N45,000 for mobilization which my IPO collected and another N15,000 which he said was his own personal money. I paid thru Mr Chukuma Nwanna who stood for my bail.
“After my release from SARS, I went to seek for medical attention and my brother called me from abroad to say he saw a publication online portraying me as a criminal and hoodlum. He also said I should check Punch Newspaper of 17th Aug and I saw the story. I asked myself how did this come about and I remembered that my pictures were taken at Olosan Mushin police station by the DCO and when I asked why? He said the DPO asked him to snap our photos and send to him.”
A copy of the Newspaper was tendered in evidence and admitted as exhibit by the panel.
The Petitioner says the story has gone viral and he lost so many things and went through the pain because of it as he was shown to the world as a criminal.
When asked by his lawyer what he wants the panel to do for him. The petitioner lists the following:
(1) I want an apology letter from the police to me.
(2) I want it also published on the same Punch Newspaper
(3) I also want monetary compensation because I’ve gone through a lot. Friends ran away after seeing this story
(4) Disciplinary action against CSP Arogba so this would serve as a deterrent to other policemen
(5) I want justice.
Counsel to the police, Joseph Eboseremen under cross-examination asked: How did you meet with Mr Afeez Asogba?
Answer: I met him on 28th May 2000 through Mr Balogun a friend I had known for about 7months before that day. I never met Afiz before that day. I met him in his workshop. He is a car mechanic and not a car dealer.
Police Counsel: Are you lettered? Yes.
As at the time you bought the car, did you go through the car particulars? Yes!
The particulars of the car didn’t show Afeez Asogba as the owner of the car? Yes!
Did you enquire about the name of the owner you saw on the particulars? I asked him and the answer was that he bought it from an army officer and when he told me that, I asked Mr Balogun how well do you know Afeez. He said he knows him well and that I could trust the information that he bought it from a soldier and based on that I asked for a receipt in Afeez name and that, Mr Balogun would stand as a witness. So I collected a receipt and a change of car document from Afeez.
I tried calling the no of the allocation on the car papers just to be double sure but it didn’t connect.
Police Counsel: There was no document showing that Afeez bought the car from an army officer?
Petitioner: No. He didn’t give me any document.
Police Counsel: You were paraded by the police? Yes!
The counsel then asked the petitioner to read the punch publication to the panel. it showed that even though it had the petitioners picture, the suspect was referred to as Joseph In the picture. The petitioner’s name is Francis.
The Police Counsel also asked the petitioner how much he bought the car?
Answer: for N320,000.
Did you know the market value of the car? I don’t know. The vehicle was in a bad condition.
Counsel: I suggest to you that the market value was N3.2m. Petitioners counsel objects and Panel disallows the question.
Police Counsel: You said they broke your hand at Olosan police station? Yes!
Which hospital did you attend? I went for traditional means to treat the hand. Meaning you don’t have medical bills to show the panel. No, just the photographs.
But it’s possible to stage manage this?
Petitioner: I don’t know about that.
Counsel: I put it to you that your hand was never broken when you were in the police custody.
They were. My elbow shifted.
At this stage, the police counsel ask for an adjournment to enable him get more facts with which to cross examine the witness.
He said, “One of my witnesses, the DPO has not been served and the other, the IPO is ill and in Ilaje, Ondo State.
The panel ordered that hearing notice be issued on the DPO involved in the matter and adjourned till Feb 2 for continuation of cross examination.
In the third case of Tella Adesanya, the petitioner who is dressed in his official uniform tells the panel that he works with the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services under the Min.of Agriculture.
He declines the offer of free legal services from the Nigerian Bar Association and says he wants to tell his story personally.
He narrates his story: I was driving along LASU/ Ibadan Rd on Sun, June 16, 2018. I was stopped at Igando junction for a check by an officer Insp. Ernest Odion of the Nig Police. He demanded for my car papers and I gave him. After going through it, he demanded for my original drivers licence.
As he was handing it back, two men rolled by on a motor cycle. They were arguing and told the police that my car knocked someone down at Iba. i was taken to Igando police station and Ernest lodged a complaint.
The Divisional Traffic Officer (DTO) said they should seize the keys of my car. After describing the scene of the alleged hit and run, those in Igando said it was not within their jurisdiction and asked that it should be reported at Iba police station.
One Insp Jeremiah came from Iba and took me to Iba police station where he handed me over to the person behind the counter.
After stripping me and keeping me for hours, they then asked me to write a statement. I refused and that’s when I met Roman Supretendent Helen Otitoju, the DTO.
The DPO, CSP Olushakin Gbenga said he would rather not detain him as there was insufficient evidence to warrant it. He ordered the DTO to release me on bail.
The DTO said he won’t release me until she has proof that I didn’t hit anyone. Another woman Sgt Destiny was the IPO.
In the evening, The DTO went and brought 2 men different from those who initially reported. i refused to write a statement and instead demanded to know the scene of the accident and the victim. But that didn’t happen.
I was detained illegally and on the third day, i was taken to the Igando Gen Hospital to see the alleged victim.
I was not tortured but the trauma i went through was much. When we came back, the DTO insisted that I pay for bail and they insisted on collecting N10,000. i was there for 3 days, no case was made against me and I was made to write an undertaking that i would pay the sum of N80K needed for the victims health before my car would be released.
After making payments of N65,000, my car somehow got dented at the police station. It was damaged beyond repairs and they gave no credible reason for the cause of damage. They insisted i should take my car away. i refused.
When they were not forthcoming, i wrote several petitions to Alausa, the Commissioner of Police, the Office of the Public Defender, The National Human Rights Commission ans even to President Buhari seeking justice.
At almost all the institutions i wrote i was asked to pay a bribe. Other institutions simply didnt respond.
Out of desperation, i even wrote to the Ooni of Ife last year when all the institutions failed me. i was waiting for his response when the EndSARs protests happened and that gave me theopportunity to write this panel.
I have documents ans recordings of my conversation with the police to back up my testimony.
The panel adjourned till 20th Jan for the petitioner to submit his documents.
In the fourth petition of Olalekan Faleye, the panel was told that petitioner is out of the state and would be available from the 2nd of Feb to appear.
The 5th petitioner, Adebayo Yinka Austin was available but his petition could not be heard because he elected to use the free legal services of the NBA. Petition was therefore adjourned to Jan 19th for NBA counsel to study his petition so as to offer proper representation.
A 25-year-old carpenter, Suleiman Ibrahim, has told the judicial panel in Taraba State how his right leg was amputated.
Ibrahim informed the Justice Christopher Awubra panel which sat in Jalingo on Wednesday that his leg was amputated after he was shot at a close range by officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
He is also seeking N100 million as compensation for the damage done to his leg to help cater for the needs of his family.
The petitioner narrated that the shooting took place in March 2019, a few meters away from his residence in Jalingo metropolis.
He identified the alleged trigger-happy NSCDC official as one Sylvester Yunusa with service number 37938.
On the 12th day of March 2019, at about 10am when I was at home with my two friends, suddenly my mum sort to know if my younger brother was at home because everyone was scampering for safety in the streets.
She asked me to go check him out with my friends and on our way, we heard gunshots and I told my friends to return home.
In the process, a civil defence vehicle double-crossed us, and one Sylvester Yunusa alighted from the vehicle and shot me on my right leg. Thereafter, two officers of the NSCDC came close to me with rifles and threatened to shoot me again.
When they left, I managed to knock on a nearby gate for safety. They opened the gate, pulled me in, and called my father to tell him.
My parents took me to the hospital, got me treated, and, thereafter, the doctors told my parents that the muscles holding the leg are no more, hence amputation will take place. My father insisted that my leg will not be cut off and sort for a referral to Kano where they said the same and my leg was amputated.
After the amputation, I was treated and returned to Jalingo. Officials of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) came around, got my submissions, and attached same with a petition to the commandant of Taraba NSCDC.
I was also taken to the NSCDC office where I was asked to get my witnesses and I did. My three witnesses were asked not to leave the premises of the NSCDC until the human rights commission intervened.
As Ibrahim shed tears while giving his testimony, Justice Awubra pleaded with him to compose himself and present his case, saying the damage had been done.
He also urged the counsel to the petitioner, Dalhatu Hamman, to plead with him to calm his nerves for the panel to get the true picture of what transpired.
The 25-year-old who said he is the eldest in the family of 18 and the breadwinner, lamented that his family, including his aged parents, have become mendicants due to his inability to attend to his profession.
After Ibrahim narrated his ordeal to the panel, Hamman pleaded for an adjournment in order to present more witnesses.
He told the panel that the amount being requested as compensation if granted would go a long way in putting smiles on the faces of his client’s family members.
In his remarks, Justice Awubra granted the lawyer’s request and adjourned the case until January 27.
The Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of police brutality and other related matters has resumed its sitting for the year 2021.
At the resumption on Tuesday, the panel had six matters listed for hearing.
In the first petition, the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) represented by its counsel, Rotimi Seriki renewed an application it had previously made twice before the panel, seeking to be permitted to have access to the toll gate plaza for the purpose of evaluating the damage done there for the benefit of its insurance claims.
The counsel said the application became imperative after security agents arrested four persons on the 14th of December, who were in the process of vandalizing and stealing cables, iron rods and solar batteries utilized by the advertising board at the toll gate.
He tendered a police report and photographs of the suspects as proof.
But the counsel to the #EndSARS protesters, Adesina Ogunlana, had strong objections to the application.
He said there was a disconnect as the police report tendered by the LCC counsel should have come from the police who were also represented before the panel.
Ogunlana also argued that the items listed as being tampered with and sought to be stolen belonged to the media and advertising companies at the toll gate and there was no connection with LCC. For him, the fact that the suspects were arrested showed that the security in place was effective.
He, therefore, urged the court to refuse the application.
The Counsel to the Police, Cyril Ejiofor, aligned with his submissions and asked to be allowed to verify the police report submitted on behalf of his institution.
In his reply, the Counsel to LCC insisted that there is obvious desperation not to allow the company go back to the toll gate.
“It’s a crime scene with millions of people passing there, so what’s wrong with LCC going there to assess the level of damage,” he asked
On his part, the counsel to the Lagos State Govt, Olukayode Enitan (SAN), had no objections to the application.
He urged the panel to allow it so that the infrastructure at the toll gate is not further degraded by vandals.
“Should the panel turn its eye to further destruction of these assets? I think that won’t be fair to every citizen of Lagos,” he said.
The Chairman of the Panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi in a short ruling stood down the matter for the police to confirm the authenticity of the documents tendered by the LCC counsel.
In the second petition, the police witness, DSP Ibrahim Yusuf narrated how a stray bullet hit the deceased, Kudirat Adebayo.
The incident happened on April 4, 2017.
He testified that a team of policemen attached to Mushin Olosa police station while on metro patrol had tried to arrest one Kayode Yusuf.
According to him, when the suspect resisted arrest, the leader of the police team, Inspector Augustine handed over his rifle to one Sgt Chibueze Njoku and then proceeded to drag the suspect into their vehicle.
But with the suspect further resisting arrest, the sergeant who now had the rifle shot sporadically and it hit the deceased, Kudirat.
“The atmosphere at the crime scene became tense and the officers had to return back to the police station. Later they went back to retrieve the body of Kudirat and she was confirmed dead at the hospital,” Yusuf told the panel.
The witness said the case was immediately transferred to the homicide department of the State CID, Panti where he works.
He said after inheriting the case, they moved to arrest all the officers involved and they discovered that the Sgt., having realized the enormity of his offense had fled.
Thereafter, a warrant was issued for his arrest and pasted at his last job, his home, church and everywhere he frequents so he could be arrested if anyone found him.
The panel admitted the warrant in evidence as well as a special police gazette declaring him wanted and the legal advice issued by the Lagos Director of Public Prosecution recommending his prosecution.
At the close of his testimony, the police closed its case and the Chairman of the panel ordered parties to file their closing arguments which is to be adopted on the next adjourned date of January 26, 2021.
In the third petition of Adeyemo Rotimi, the police counsel, Cyril Ejiofor tendered apologies as his two witnesses were absent.
He asked for a short adjournment and the Chairman of the panel granted it for January 26.
He, however, noted that the indulgence of granting the adjournment shall be the last, as the panel is running out of time to complete its job.
In the fourth petition of Felix Lucky, a witness, Mokee Chigozie was called to testify.
He narrated how his colleague and brother, Mr Lucky, a driver and vigilante who resides at Jakande Estate, Lekki, was involved in an altercation with a police officer, Sgt. John Dagbo, attached to the Ilasan Police Division, which resulted in his being allegedly shot by the officer on the 20th of October 2020.
After cross-examination by the police counsel, Cyril Ejiofor, the panel adjourned further hearing in the petition till January 26.
The panel has taken a short break and when it resumes sitting, it will take the remaining two petitions listed for hearing today.