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 National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has denied the claim that he has endorsed any candidate for the forthcoming local government election in Lagos State.
In a statement on Sunday, he faulted the allegations of a plot to influence the party’s primaries, saying they were targeted to hurt the party.
Tinubu noted that the APC Governance Advisory Council in Lagos met on Friday last week to discuss ways to ensure the fairness of the primaries for the poll.
“Asiwaju Bola Tinubu would like it to be known, by way of this statement, that he has no preferred candidates for the upcoming local government primaries.
“He has no intention to endorse any of the people contesting for the party nomination in any election, whether for chairmanship or councillorship positions,” the statement said.
It added, “On this matter, Asiwaju believes he can speak for the rest of the GAC regarding their belief in the impartiality and transparency of the internal party process.
“Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the other GAC leaders seek a free, fair, and transparent process in which the candidates who emerge are those who gather the most support among the party rank and file. Only in this manner, do we best prepare ourselves for the general election.”
According to Tinubu, the integrity of the primary process is of the highest priority for the APC and all efforts must be geared towards the realisation of a free, fair, and transparent process.
To this end, he said party officials were obligated to establish the necessary arrangements to ensure orderly, peaceful, free, and fair primaries.
The APC leader added that the officials have been empowered to deal appropriately with any who might attempt to undermine or otherwise try to inject impair the party primaries, stressing the need for the party to adopt a policy of no tolerance.
He advised aspirants to embrace consensus wherever possible in order to reduce tension and avoid discord and in-fighting within the party.
“However, where consensus is not possible, fair and clean primaries must be held so that party members have a chance to choose the candidate they want from among the competing aspirants.
“All aspirants, however, must realise that only one person can win any given contest. While we encourage everyone to compete with zeal and energy, we encourage all aspirants and party members to respect the results of our primaries,” the statement said.
It added, “Once the primaries end, we must unite as a party so that we win the general elections thereby ensuring the continuity of progressive governance at the local government level throughout the state.
“In this vein, Asiwaju appeals to party leaders in all the local governments to allow democracy to flourish. He urges them to do everything humanly possible to protect and promote the democratic process.”
The Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Moyosore Onigbanjo has disclosed that the property at Osborne Foreshore Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, proposed by the Lagos State Government for the relocation of Igbosere High Court, will be ready by end of May 2021.
Justice Onigbanjo stated this on May 19 at the state’s Ministry of Justice 2021 Ministerial Press Briefing tagged ‘Our journey between April 2020 and April 2021’.
Onigbanjo explained that this and ongoing state-wide construction and renovation of courts is part of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s efforts to enhance access to justice.
The AG also revealed that the digitalisation of 10 of the state’s courts is ongoing, adding that six of the fully digitalised courts will be ready by October.
The facilities will provide “real-time transcripts solution services and fully-automated courts” Onigbanjo said.
This, he noted, will complement the launch of an online platform for checking the status of legal advice and certified true copy of legal advice.
He disclosed further that there is also an ongoing upgrade of the Ministry of Justice website and social media handles, as well as the introduction of Case Management Systems within the MoJ to improve efficiency.
Onigbanjo highlighted the MoJ’s efforts to boost law enforcement agencies’ performance by building statement recording/interrogation rooms for the police to enhance prosecution of cases.
The Igbosere High Court, the country’s oldest and most recognisable judicial building, was attacked on October 22 by hoodlums under the guise of the #EndSARS protest.
The criminals spent hours looting and vandalising vehicles, furniture, refrigerators, air conditioners, office equipment among others, before burning the entire court complex to the ground.
A former Vice Chairman of Lagos Island East Local Council Development Area, Asekun Kehinde Sakiru, has been arrested with cocaine.
He was nabbed by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, the spokesman of the anti-narcotics agency, Femi Babafemi, confirmed on Wednesday via a statement.
The anti-narcotics agency said the suspect had been on its wanted list following the recent arrest of some traffickers and drug seizures linked to him.
“The long arm of the law however caught up with the wanted baron at about 9.40 pm on Friday 7th May 2021 while trying to board a Virgin Atlantic airline flight to London, the United Kingdom at the Lagos airport,” the statement partly read.
“At the point of his arrest, Asekun was caught with a kilogramme of cocaine concealed in five pairs of palm slippers packed inside his suitcase.
“He has been on the wanted list of the MMIA Command of the Agency in connection to a case involving one Azeez Adeniyi Ibrahim, who was arrested with 6.45kg of cocaine in December 2020.”
According to the agency, preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect London-based suspected drug baron is a seasoned politician.
He was at different times between 2004 and 2014 the vice-chairman of Lagos Island East LCDA. He had also contested and lost elections for the House of Representatives in 2007 and Lagos State House of Assembly in 2015.
NDLEA added, “Although he claims to be an international businessman who deals in automobiles, the investigation is yet to confirm that to be the source of his acquired wealth.
“In the course of tracking him, the sum of N131million was seized from his account and another N14 million also blocked in the account of one of his traffickers, Azeez Adeniyi Ibrahim, bringing the total sum so far recovered from him to N145 million.”
Reacting to the arrest, NDLEA Chairman, Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) commended the officers and men of the MMIA Command of the Agency for resilience and dedication to duty.
He is also confident that with the support of all stakeholders, the problem of drug trafficking and abuse in Nigeria will be drastically reduced very soon.
“This arrest is yet another message and red alert to those still in this criminal trade whether as barons or traffickers that they will soon enter the dragnet of the Agency, daily being spread across the country,” he said.
“If they fail to back out especially now that we are moving all out for the barons and the big cartels, we will continue to reign in the traffickers.”
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.
In reaching its decision on his petition, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi held that there was a clear violation of his fundamental rights as guaranteed under Section 34 of the constitution.
The panel also recommended that the police investigate and fish out its officers who brutalised Ekekwe with a view to sanctioning them accordingly.
In his immediate reaction, Ekekwe expressed displeasure with the amount awarded by the panel. He and his mother who had been taking care of him since the incident happened lamented that they had spent over N30m at the hospitals and wondered what they would do with the “mere ₦7.5m awarded by the panel”.
Two other petitioners, Andrew Okoh and Isaac Adeshina who suffered grievous body harm after they were shot in the leg by a police officer were compensated with the sum of ₦3m each.
The Lagos State Government has announced that it would launch buses to replace motorcycles popularly known as Okada and tricycles known as Keke to ply inner roads in the state.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu disclosed this on Monday during a security stakeholder’s town hall meeting in Ikeja, adding that over 500 minibusses would be deployed next week.
He said the move is to alleviate the pain residents of the state go through following the restriction of motorcycle and tricycle operations.
“We are excited to announce that next week, we will be launching what we term the ‘Last Mile Buses’ that will ply inner roads and safely get commercial passengers to their final destinations,” he said.
“We envisage deploying over 500 of these buses to alleviate the pain associated with the restriction of motorcycle and tricycle operations.
“We also envisage that this initiative will also generate employment opportunities for Lagosians, including the commercial motorcyclist operators, who will be employed as operators of the Last Mile Buses.”
The governor said his administration would relaunch the State Residents Card very soon, to ensure that the database of Lagos residents is kept up to date.
According to him, the database will form a critical part of the state’s security architecture, noting that it will ensure that the government knows who is who, at any point in time.
On cultism-related activities, Sanwo-Olu recalled that he “recently signed into law the Prohibition of Unlawful Societies and Cultism Act of 2021.”
He said the move was necessitated by the fact that criminal gangs have been unleashing violence and causing mayhem in and around the state.
He added, “The law prescribes a 21-year jail term for convicted cultists. The new law strengthens the penalties applicable to cultists, and expands coverage to the entire society, unlike the old law which was restricted to cultism by students of tertiary institutions.
“With the passage of this new law, it will help in widening the dragnet in the hunt and prosecution of these nefarious gangs intent on sowing fear and chaos in the State.”
The Lagos State Police Command has arrested 11 suspected cultists and traffic robbers at Railway Crossing in the Ikeja area of the state.
The suspects, according to the police spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi, were apprehended on May 1 for attacking and dispossessing innocent people of their belongings within the area.
He identified the suspects as Sadiq Masaki, Oladimeji Olatunbosun, Adam Hassan, Tunde Afolayan, Michael Ademola, Olamide Johnson, Abiodun Opeyemi, Oluseyi Agbaje, Daniel Ayomide and Adebayo Tobi,
“The operatives who responded to a distress call from one of the victims (name withheld), raced to the area and arrested some of the suspects in action while others were arrested at their hideouts around Ikeja Along,” Muyiwa said via a statement.
“They have confessed to the crime. The suspects also revealed that they attack their targets with iron rods, guns, cutlasses and charms during operation.”
The police spokesman said the suspects revealed one of their receivers, one Idris Adamu, who was immediately arrested at Alade Market in Lagos.
Items recovered included a gold necklace of one of the victims and many other suspected stolen items like phones, necklaces, watches.
Other victims of their robbery operation have been identified and assisting the police in their investigation.
Meanwhile, the suspects are assisting police authorities with information on their mode of operations, membership and accomplices so as to apprehend other members of the gang and those who conspire with them in committing the dastardly act in the area and across the state.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered that the police operatives profile the suspects and go after their gang members and conspirators, warning that the State Police Command will not spare anyone criminally.
Odumosu also directed that the Commander RRS, the Commander Taskforce and other tactical Commanders strategize in getting rid of traffic robbers and other criminals in order to accord perfect and excellent service delivery as well as effective security to all and sundry in Lagos.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested a Lagos banker, Elizabeth Modupe Osunjuyigbe for an alleged fraudulent diversion of funds to the tune of over ₦34m
In a statement issued on Friday by EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, the Lagos zonal office of the anti-graft agency quizzed the suspect said to be an employee of Access Bank Plc.
“The suspect, who was arrested on Friday April 29, 2021, allegedly sent a fraudulent request sometime in January to the Branch Service Manager of Access Bank, Adeola Odeku, Lagos State, to issue a draft of the sum of ₦31,330,165 in favour of one Best Timland Nigeria Limited,” the statement read.
“Investigations revealed that the suspect allegedly forged a solicitor’s letter dated January 19, 2021 directing the bank to issue the draft in favour of Best Timland, claiming that request was for the payment of rent to the landlord of one of the bank’s branches in Akwa-Ibom State.”
The EFCC spokesman said the suspect will soon be charged to court for trial and prosecution.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has dismissed a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to disqualify Senator Adetokunbo Abiru of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from continuing to represent Lagos East Senatorial District.
In a judgment delivered on Thursday via zoom, a three-man panel of the court affirmed the March 1 decision of the Federal High Court in Lagos which dismissed Babatunde Gbadamosi and the PDP’s suit for lacking in merit.
Delivering the unanimous judgment of the court, Justice Daniel Kallio presiding, decided the appeal and another cross-appeal in Abiru and the APC’s favour.
The court in its judgment agreed with Abiru’s counsel, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) and held that the PDP’s appeal was unmeritorious.
In particular, the Court of Appeal held that the residency of a candidate to an election is not a qualifying or disqualifying factor.
It further held that the Abiru did not submit false information to INEC.
The Court also dismissed the arguments of Ebunolu Adegboruwa (SAN) who submitted on behalf of the Appellants that Abiru had irreconcilable names.
In resolving the Cross-Appeal the Court held that the suit of the Appellants (Gbadamosi & the PDP) at the lower Court was speculative and premature and the lower court ought to have dismissed same at the instance of the Preliminary Objection filed by the 2nd (Abiru) and 3rd (APC) Respondents.
Gbadamosi was online when his appeal was dismissed.
On Dec 5, 2020, Abiru had won the senatorial bye-election by a landslide, polling 89,204 votes against Gbadamosi’s 11,257 votes.
But Gbadamosi and the PDP challenged Abiru’s eligibility to contest the election.
The challengers sought to disqualify Abiru on the ground of double voter registration, residency, indigeneship and violation of Section 31 of the Electoral Act.
But in dismissing their case, Justice Obiozor agreed with Abiru’s counsel Kemi Pinheiro SAN and APC’s counsel Abiodun Owonikoko SAN that the issue of residency and indigeneship were not disqualifying factors under the constitution.
Dissatisfied, Gbadamosi and PDP approached the appellate court.
The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) in Lagos State has begun the partial opening of courts by returning to duty three times a week.
In a circular dated April 27 and addressed to its members, JUSUN Chairman in the state, Kehinde Shobowale, directed a partial reopening of the courts.
Following the directive, members were to report to work every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
JUSUN had on April 6 embarked on an indefinite strike demanding that state governments grant financial autonomy to the judiciary.
But Shobowale said that the union took that decision because Lagos State has so far attained 75 per cent financial autonomy.
“It is our desire only to relax strike rules to allow clearance of backlogs, reading of judgement and decongestion of prison occasion by the COVID pandemic and #EndSARS protest,” he said.
“Therefore, work and official duties are constraints to Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of every week, while Monday and Tuesday of every week remain our strike days that all staff must stay off duty to observe the national strike.”