Lai Mohammed Was Hasty In Criticising Lagos EndSARS Report – Segalink

 

Human rights activist, Segun Awosanya, popularly known as Segalink, took a swipe at the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday, saying he was hasty in criticising the Lagos #EndSARS report.

The Lagos Judicial Panel of Enquiry on Police Brutality submitted its report on November 15, although the state government is yet to make its contents public with a White Paper expected next week.

Mohammed who reacted to the report via a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, described the document circulating online as filled with so many errors.

But speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Segalink said he wouldn’t join issues with the government.

READ ALSO: Lekki Toll Gate: Army ‘Killed Unarmed, Defenseless Protesters’ – Lagos Panel

“I think it is hasty and I believe that the Minister of Information has another chance to correct this because we need to make the deliverance of Nigerians,” he said.

“If we must build a nation where peace and justice shall reign, you don’t come out to the public and respond to rules.”

Public Trust

Segalink noted that the attitude of the government and public officials do not build that public trust from Nigerians.

Human rights activist, Segun Awosanya, popularly known as Segalink.

 

According to him, members of the Lagos State Judicial Panel sacrificed a lot in delivering the assignment given to them.

“The only thing we can speak to ethically is the response of the government through the white paper as promised to be made public. Until then, we can’t go into the details.

“As far as I am concerned, what I am hearing now is the same attitude that makes the public feel that the gap between the leadership and the led is getting wider and this is one of the reasons why the government will never be trusted.

“We know the sacrifices that we had to make to be able to make this work. One year of our lives was sacrificed to do this job. For us to have ministers within the administration doing things like this does not really inspire trust,” he added.

#EndSars Protests: Lagos Panel Concludes Sitting, Awards N410m To 70 Victims

A file photo of members of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution.

 

The Lagos State Judicial Panel on restitution for victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters has held its valedictory sitting after 131 proceedings.

Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi, who read out the decisions of the panel on Monday, announced the award of N148.2 million to 23 deserving petitioners.

They include Michael Owoicho – N10 million, Fatai Ogunseye (late) – N10 million, Adeola Mukaila – N700,000, Stella Edegwa – N500,000, Akapo Adekunle – N10 million, Mustapha Ramot – N10 million, Kufre Jackson – N5 million, Ikechukwu Iloamuzor (late) – N10 million, Segun Adekoya (unlawful arrest by the police) – N1 million, Yusuf Omole – N10 million, and Segun Ishola (injuries sustained from gunshot) – N5 million.

Others are Mr and Mrs Julius Adeogun – N10 million, Okoronkwo Sylvester (late) – N10 million, Titi Agnes – N10 million, Prince Akaba – N500,000, Chukwudera Uba – N4 million, Seun Bamgbose – N10 million, Abayomi Likinyo – N4 million, James Arebha – N4 million, Juliana Adeoti – N1 million, Adaeze Samson – N2.5 million, Yemi Abdulkareem – N10 million, and Gabriel Ayedungbe – 10 million.

As a result, the panel has now awarded a total of N410 million to 70 victims.

Justice Okuwobi also revealed that the panel has concluded its investigations into the shooting at the Lekki tollgate – one of the venues of the #EndSARS protests in Lagos.

She, however, stated that the panel was working on its report which would be submitted to the state government which was expected to declare the report publicly.

The panel assured petitioners that its recommendations would include compensation to victims of the Lekki tollgate incident if any was identified.

According to the chairman, recommendations will also be made for policemen who were victims of the #EndSARS protests held in 2020.

She added that petitions that have been partly heard, and those that were not concluded or heard would be sent to the supervising Lagos State Ministry of Justice, which may set up a human rights body to handle them.

The judicial panel set up by the state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on October 19, 2020, was mandated to investigate cases of brutality and human rights abuses by the Police and its disbanded tactical unit.

On October 19, 2020, the Lagos State government inaugurated a nine-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate cases of brutality and human rights violations perpetrated by the police and operatives of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The panel was also saddled with the investigation of the alleged shooting of protesters by the Nigerian Army on October 20, 2020, at the Lekki tollgate plaza.

It received 235 petitions between October and December 2020, while only 14 petitions were submitted on the alleged Lekki shooting incident.

Lekki Shooting: Adegboruwa Raises Alarm Over Plot To Frustrate Probe

A file photo of Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has raised an alarm over the investigations into the October 20, 2020 shooting at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos State.

He alleged that there was an attempt to frustrate the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters, from reaching meaningful conclusions on its probe into the incident.

Adegboruwa raised the alarm on Saturday in a chat with Channels Television in reaction to the announcement that the panel was suspending its sitting indefinitely.

Although he did not return with the panel after it rose to deliberate on the submissions by the Lagos State counsel to call expert witnesses, the senior lawyer promised to give further details on the claim.

Adegboruwa represents the civil society in the panel set up by the state government to probe the excesses of police personnel in the state.

At the resumed sitting, Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi, said sitting would be suspended until further notice, after Saturday’s session.

A screengrab shows Justice Doris Okuwobi and others at the sitting of the Lagos Judicial Panel on September 11, 2021.

 

“There are two reports that we are expected to work on; we are not close enough to any of them,” she said. “We cannot continue with the sitting and end the assignment without concluding. So, we will not be sitting from today.

“We have to collate and evaluate petitions already heard so as to make findings and recommendations, even on the Lekki shooting. But as soon as we find ourselves in a comfortable situation, we will send hearing notices for cases that have been listed.

“Please bear with us, we cannot speculate on any further extension. We have to work towards completing the assignment as early as we can.”

“This is without any prejudice to us coming back to conclude on part-heard cases. Dates will be communicated to petitioners who have petitions pending,” Okuwobi added.

 

The Way Forward

Meanwhile, lawyers appearing before the panel have suggested ways in which the panel could speed up its work.

A counsel to the Lagos State government and SAN, Olukayode Enitan, said the panel should have adopted the “front-loading method” when he suggested it at the beginning of the hearing.

He stated that if their application was not considered, “it will be like a bird flying with one wing,” adding that the state has never wasted time or occasioned delay at the panel.

“We have always been present, at no point were we not here and never have we requested an adjournment except for once.

“It will be most unfair to not want to hear what we want to say. I would advise that the panel adopt a process that will ensure that all sides are heard,” Enitan said.

On his part, the lawyer representing the Lekki Concession Company (LCC), Rotimi Seriki, also urged the panel to hear the expert witnesses.

“I believe that in the interest of justice and given that this is a fact-finding exercise, any piece of evidence that will allow this panel in arriving at a decision should not be shut out,” he said.

When the panel enquired if the expert witness could be flown in immediately, Enitan said no as he explained that the UK witness would be required to observe the COVID-19 travel protocol and go into quarantine before he could appear.

Adeshina Ogunlana, a lawyer representing some of the #EndSARS protesters, suggested that the panel could take the expert witness by virtual means.

He also proposed that the sitting of the panel be either extended or an additional weekday be added.

Lagos Judicial Panel Suspends Sitting Till Further Notice

A file photo of members of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution.

 

The Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS related abuses and other matters will suspend its sitting until further notice, after Saturday’s session.

Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi, announced this at the resumed sitting of the panel.

“There are two reports that we are expected to work on; we are not close enough to any of them,” she said. “We cannot continue with the sitting and end the assignment without concluding. So, we will not be sitting from today.

“We have to collate and evaluate petitions already heard so as to make findings and recommendations, even on the Lekki shooting. But as soon as we find ourselves in a comfortable situation, we will send hearing notices for cases that have been listed.

“Please bear with us, we cannot speculate on any further extension. We have to work towards completing the assignment as early as we can.”

“This is without any prejudice to us coming back to conclude on part-heard cases. Dates will be communicated to petitioners who have petitions pending,” Okuwobi added.

Following the announcement, the panel went on to hear and conclude the cross-examination of a pathologist, Professor John Obafunwa, and one of the EndSARS coordinators, Serah Ibrahim.

Both witnesses were discharged after they concluded their testimonies.

Following the extension of its tenure by another three months, the panel is expected to conclude its sitting by October 19.

Meanwhile, lead counsel to the Lagos State government, Abiodun Owonikoko, however, told the panel that with regards to the Lekki shooting, the state intended to call two expert witnesses – a ballistician and a security expert.

“One of the experts was commissioned from the UK and the other is a highly placed security expert,” he said.

“We want an indication on when the panel will reconvene so that we can guide them on when specifically they will appear,” he said.

After this submission, the panel rose to confer and make a decision on how to proceed.

When the panel returned, Justice Okuwobi regretted that the panel would not be able to take the witnesses before taking its break.

“On the application, the quality of the witnesses we envisage will slow the panel down… we only have 27 working days to the end of this assignment,” she said. “We are of the firm view that we cannot accommodate such evidence at this time.

“It will be highly impossible and impracticable to take the two witnesses and it is the panel’s greatest concern that we get our report ready for the terminal date of this assignment.”

As of the time of this report, different lawyers are still making their submissions, agreeing or disagreeing with this latest move by the panel.

Lagos Panel Summons LASUTH Doctor Over Gabriel Ayoola’s Death

A screengrab taken on June 22, 2021, captures a session at the Lagos State Judicial Panel.

 

The Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters has issued a summons for the appearance of a doctor simply identified as Dr Adewunmi of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in Ikeja.

Chairman of the Panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi, ordered the medical practitioner to appear before the panel on September 14 to answer some questions in relation to the petition filed by the late Gabriel Ayoola’s family.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, Grace Aiyedungbe, a sister to the late Gabriel, testified that LASUTH claimed he died of complications from COVID-19 and not the gunshot wound for which he was being treated.

She decried that all efforts by the family to get the autopsy report and death certificate from LASUTH to ascertain the true cause of his death proved abortive.

“When I got to the hospital, he was coughing seriously,” Grace told the panel. “I spoke with one doctor who said that the reason he was coughing was that when he was unconscious, he was being fed through the nostrils.

“And when he woke up, he was trying to clear his throat and that was the reason for the cough; that it was not something serious and they would handle it. That was what the doctor explained.”

After listening to the testimony of the petitioner, Justice Okuwobi said, “Leave is hereby granted the petitioner to field a third witness, an expert.

“Further hearing in the petition is adjourned till September 14, 2021. Summons shall issue to Dr Adewunmi of LASUTH, Ikeja to attend proceedings at the next sitting of the panel.”

Grace had testified before the panel that her brother was a victim of an extrajudicial killing by some officers attached to the Ojodu Police Station.

The panel heard that the deceased was hit by a bullet while the police were trying to disperse protesters who came out in the morning of October 21, 2020, a day after the Lekki shooting incident.

Grace said she got the information that her brother had been shot on social media and the family later traced him to the hospital where he was receiving treatment after been rescued by a Good Samaritan, one Jude Balogun.

Gabriel was later referred to LASUTH in Ikeja where he died on November 12 – three weeks after he was hit by a bullet.

Lagos Panel Admits Autopsy Reports Of 99 Corpses Recovered On October 2020

 

The Lagos Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS and other related abuses has admitted in evidence post mortem results and Compact Discs of all 99 corpses deposited at the Lagos morgue between the 20th and the 27th of October 2020.

A consultant pathologist to the Lagos State Government, Professor John Obafunwa, who is testifying before the panel on Saturday brought the results following an order made on June 5, 2021, for it to be produced.

The documents were contained in two nylon bags – blue and white.

READ ALSO: Benin Royal Museum Is Rightful Place For Return Of Stolen Artefacts – Oba of Benin

The Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi admitted the documents in evidence after the counsel to some EndSARS protesters, Yinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN) moved for the documents to be admitted.

There was no objection from other parties before the panel.

The Lagos Judicial panel receives the documents which were contained in two nylon bags- blue and white.

Earlier at the June 5 sitting of the panel, the Chairman, Justice Okuwobi had ordered Professor Obafunwa to bring before the panel the post mortem reports conducted on all 99 bodies said to have been picked from different parts of Lagos between the 20th and 27th of Oct, 2020.

The Chairman of the panel made the order after the pathologist testified that the coroner’s office conducted post mortem autopsies on 99 bodies during the period.

He had also testified that of the 99, only three bodies were labelled as #EndSARS Lekki. The identities of all three male victims still remain unknown.

#EndSARS: Odi-Olowo LCDA Chairman, Rasaq Ajala Appears Before Lagos Panel

 

The Chairman of Odi-Olowo/Ojuwoye Local Council Development Area, Hon. Rasaq Ajala has appeared before the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of SARS following a summons issued on him.

He was summoned by the panel to assist with information in the petition filed by the family of late Ayuub Azeez, a 21-year-old generator technician who was allegedly killed in October 2020 by men of the Olosan police station in the Odi-Olowo/Ojuwoye LCDA in Mushin.

The chairman of the LCDA who testified as a witness on Tuesday told the panel that the father of the deceased reported the incident to him and sought his help to retrieve the body which was said to have been carried away by the policemen.

Hon Ajala said all efforts he made to reach the DPO of the police station were not successful.

READ ALSO: Twitter’s Mission In Nigeria Is Suspicious, Says Lai Mohammed

An altercation ensued when the petitioners’ lawyer, Bernard Onigah confronted the LCDA Chairman with a viral video supposedly showing the deceased being carried away by men believed to be from the Olosan police station after he was shot dead.

“The road leads to Olumorokun, Agege Motor Road, Ladipo, Ayotuga. That is where the road leads to,” the Chairman told the Panel.

The Chairman of Odi-Olowo/Ojuwoye Local Council Development Area, Hon. Rasaq Ajala

 

When asked if the scene of the alleged assault leads to the Olosan police station where some police officers reportedly shot the victim came from, the Chairman refused to answer the petitioners’ lawyer.

He added, “I will not answer that question. Please let me answer the question. I said the road leads to Olumorokun, Agege Motor Road, Ladipo. Olosan is located along Olumorokun.”

He kept mute when repeatedly asked if the road leads to the Olosan Police Station, a situation that led to a faceoff between him and Onigah.

Speaking further, Ajala insisted that he has answered the question earlier asked. Apparently, his response did not go down well.

 

#EndSARS: Lagos Judicial Panel Summons Three Police Officers, Strikes Out One Petition

FILE: Members of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution at a sitting on March 30, 2021

 

The Lagos State Judicial Panel on the Restitution for Victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters has summoned the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Command, the DPO, Olosan Police Station and one of his officers simply identified as Oosa.

The panel summoned the three officers in connection with two different petitions.

The Commissioner of Police of the Airport was summoned in connection with a case filed by a petitioner, Chukwuma Henry who alleged that he was shot in the abdomen by a police officer he identified as Sergeant Emmanuel Agambi.

The incident allegedly occurred in Jan. 2013 around the public car park at the airport.

The police counsel, Cyril Ejiofor asked the panel to summon the police commissioner to enable him produce the member of his staff, Agambi who allegedly fired the shot. He is to appear before the panel at the next adjourned date, April 23rd.

The petitioner on his part is demanding compensation for the injuries he claimed he suffered as a result of the shooting. He says he requires a colostomy operation which will cost over N2m.

In another case, the panel summoned the DPO of Olosan police station and one of his officers who is said to go by the alias ‘Oosa’. Both men are to appear before the panel on May 4 to relate what they know about the petition filed by the family of late Adeshina Adeosun against the Nigerian Police.

Adeosun was allegedly shot by officers of the Nigerian Police Force, Olosan Division on October 20, 2020.

The family wants the panel to help them get his body from the police. They also asked the panel to compensate them for the loss.

In the only decision delivered at the sitting, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi struck out a petition involving Mrs Taiwo Idehen and her two sons against the Nigeria Police Force.

The 60-year-old petitioner had alleged that the police acting on the instigation of a family member arrested her sons after claiming that they conspired to kill their father, a former police officer, Jospeh Idehen.

She said she was lured to the police station following the arrest of her sons and after she got there, she was stripped naked and assaulted. She asked the panel to help her secure justice and compensation for the alleged police brutality.

Her sons also requested for justice and compensation for their alleged illegal arrest detention and prosecution. The panel had subsequently consolidated all three petitions.

In its decision on the consolidated petitions today, the panel held that the subject matter of the petitions before it is the same with one pending before the courts. Justice Okuwobi struck out the petitions on the grounds that the matter is pending before a court of competent jurisdiction, is subjudice and amounts to an abuse of court of process.

#EndSARS Aftermath: Lagos Panel Gets Three Months Extension

Members of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution at a sitting on March 30, 2021

 

The tenure of the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution For Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters has been extended for another three months.

The new date has been fixed for July 19 which is against the earlier deadline of April 19, 2021.

The Lagos panel was inaugurated by the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on October 19, 2020, to among other things receive memoranda from concerned members of the public and inquire into cases of abuse, brutality, torture, and extrajudicial killings by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, (SARS) in Lagos.

As of the deadline for the receipt of the memo, the panel had received 235 petitions.

The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution briefing journalists on its three months extension

 

Today’s sitting is the 65th and so far the panel has part-heard over 115 cases and given out about N44m as compensation.

The very first petition the panel heard on Tuesday involved a bed-ridden 76-year-old petitioner, Prince Adewanle Adewuyi who had alleged police brutality, aggravated assault after his 26 acres of land in Age-Mowo village Badagry was forcefully taken over by the police in Dec. 2013.

{READ ALSO}#EndSARS Aftermath: Four Petitioners Get N16.25m Cheques At Lagos Panel

The land is said to be worth over N800million.

At the last sitting of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi had summoned the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, the Commissioner of police in charge of Legal Dept, Abuja, the AIG Co-Operative Police College, Ikeja, and the Surveyor-General of Lagos State.

At the resumption of proceedings today, the Petitioner’s counsel, Debo Adeleke noted that all parties summoned had honored the panel’s invitation and even reached out to him for an amicable resolution of the matter.

 

The counsel also stated that with the interference of the Panel, it has shown that hope is not lost for the common man.

The counsel to the police, Bonnyface Asogwa has told the Panel that the Inspector General of Police, has ordered all concerned officers to ensure they handover the land to the petitioner as soon as possible.

He then asked for a short adjournment to allow parties to tidy up every documentation over the matter.

Counsel to the AIG Co-operative, Police College, Okey Barrah who aligned himself with this request told the Panel that the team of concerned officers had already visited the site and work is in progress to ensure justice is done.

#EndSARS Aftermath: Four Petitioners Get N16.25m Cheques At Lagos Panel

 

The Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of SARS and other related matters has handed out cheques to four deserving petitioners.

At the resumed sitting on Saturday, the panel gave decisions in six petitions and found that the four of them were able to prove their cases successfully.

The petitioners, comprising three women and a man, received a total of N16.25 million in total.

A breakdown of the amount shows that the three women received cheques of N10 million, N5 million, and N750,000 respectively, while the man got a cheque of N500,000.

They took turns to receive the cheques from the Chairman of the Panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi.

The Chairman of the Panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi, presents a cheque to one of the deserving petitioners on March 27, 2021.

Following the presentation of the cheques to the petitioners, the panel moved on to the cross-examination of a trauma and orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Babatunde Lawson, from Reddington Hospital.

However, the cross-examination of the medical practitioner was stalled because the counsel to the Lagos State government who was meant to take him through the process was absent.

Thereafter, the panel listened to the testimony of another petitioner, Samuel Ashola, who was at the venue of the Lekki tollgate protest in October 2020.

Petitions breakdown

The first petitioner on Saturday, Felicia Opara, was a young woman who was captured in a viral video on Oct 12, 2020, following an alleged assault by some police officers in the Ojuelegba area of Lagos.

Among other things, the panel found that the culture of impunity and violence is rampant among some police officers in Nigeria.

The panel also found that there is sometimes an inability of the authorities to bring perpetrators of torture to book.

The panel therefore recommended an apology by the police to the petitioner, Felicia Opara.

The panel also recommended training of the police on human rights law & enforcement as well as the need to make policemen take responsibility for their actions.

The panel then awarded compensation to the petitioner in the sum of N750,000.

The second petitioner, Tolulope Openiyi was compensated with the sum of N10m.

The panel found that she successfully proved that her husband, Olusegun was shot dead in August 2017, by a police officer, Jide Akinola, attached to the Sabo, Yaba police station.

The panel found that there was no contrary evidence offered by the police to her testimony that her husband was shot at a police checkpoint.

The panel also found that though the police authorities arrested the erring police officer, his investigation was not properly conducted as he was later released.

The panel therefore recommended the prosecution of the police officer. The panel also recommended scholarship for one child of the victim.

Other general recommendations made by the panel include public condemnation and immediate sanctioning of police officers where necessary and an adequate and speedy compensation of victims and their families with the cost of compensation to be set aside by the Nigerian Government for the police.

The third petitioner, Francis Idum was alleged to be a victim of extrajudicial killing by a SARS officer during a cult clash, sometime in July, 2019

Witnesses who testified in the petition filed by family members of the deceased claimed police officers from Area F police command also took away his body.

In reaching its decision, the panel found that none of the witnesses who testified was an eye witness to the incident as they could not give direct evidence of the person who shot the deceased.

The panel also found that the evidence of the police on its movement of arms register for the day of the incident showed that only AK47 rifles were signed out for use and not a pistol as was allegedly used on the victim.

In the final analysis the panel recalled that there was a cult clash on the day and the balance of probability and the preponderance of evidence tilted more in favor of the police.

The panel was therefore unable to recommend compensation for the petitioner as it was not proved that the gunshot which caused his death was a weapon handled by the police.

The panel however recommended that the police conducts a better investigation by commissioning an independent outfit vested with the mandate to unravel the circumstances that lead to the death of the petitioner.

In the fourth decision involving Oladoyin Ademola, the panel was also unable to recommend monetary compensation.

The panel held that the petitioner did not connect the cataract he suffers in his eye to acts of assault allegedly perpetrated on him by men of the Nigerian police.

The panel however recommended that the DPO and officers at the Dopemu check point and police station as at the date of the incident should be investigated.

The fifth petitioner, Blessing Omoregie Esanbor was compensated with the sum of N5m.

The panel found that though her police assailant, Emmanuel Okujor was imprisoned for 17 years for the offence, the petitioner still has a permanent disability and requires plastic surgery to fix her face.

The panel also recommended periodic psychological evaluation of policemen especially those who bear arms.

The sixth petitioner, Tella Adesanya, an officer of Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services under the Min. of Agriculture, was awarded N500,000 compensation for his unlawful arrest for three days, the seizure of his car since 2018 till date, extortion and for the trauma he suffered at the hands of the police officers.

The panel also recommended the immediate release of his car.