Lagos Judicial Panel Resumes Sitting After Holidays

A File Photo of the Lagos State Judicial Panel

 

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.

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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.

#EndSARS: LCC Footage Shows Several Military Trucks Deployed To Lekki Tollgate

LCC presents footage from Lekki Tollgate to Lagos Judicial Panel on October 21. Photo: Editi Effiong @Twitter

 

Footage presented by the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) has shown that several trucks said to belong to the Nigerian Army, were indeed deployed to the Lekki Tollgate area of Lagos State on October 20.

In the video presented on Saturday to the judicial panel of inquiry and restitution set up to investigate incidents of police brutality and extrajudicial killings, a number of trucks were seen arriving at the Lekki Toll Gate at about 6.43 pm on that day.

But after about three hours of watching the footage, the counsel to the #EndSARS protesters, Adeshina Ogunlana, who was earlier given access to the video complained that the footage is not the one that should have been played.

He claimed that a particular recording was skipped, explaining that he was given tapes tagged t1 and t1 full.

 

A videograb from the clips presented to the panel.

 

The panel is investigating the Lekki Tollgate shooting and other issues regarding the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and is hoping to unravel the circumstances surrounding the controversial intervention by the Nigerian Army during the #EndSARS protest.

At the resumption, Justice Doris Okuwobi (rtd), said she was calling up the Lekki Toll company first so that the footage of the happenings around the Lekki Toll Gate would be watched by all parties including the Nigerian Army.

The Army had initially denied its role in the incident, describing such reports as fake news.

They, however, later came out to admit that officers had been deployed to the area on the orders of the state government after a curfew had been imposed to quell the violence that erupted amid the #EndSARS protest.

But the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has yet to make any definite statement about the who gave the orders.

Addressing the panel last Saturday, Commander of the 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo, reacted to the situation saying: “the Nigerian army was not happy about two things. The first is his (Governor Sanwo-Olu’s) denial that he asked us to intervene when in actual fact, it was the proper thing to do,”.

Speaking of the incident itself, Brigadier Taiwo insisted that only blank bullets containing gunpowder were fired on that day.

According to him,  if real bullets were indeed fired, one bullet had the potency to kill three persons at one shot.

But the testimony contradicts what was seen in live footage from the scene.

Disc Jockey, Obianuju Catherine Udeh, popularly known as DJ Switch was one of those who filmed the incident live on Instagram.


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In her live stream at the scene of the incident which immediately went viral at the time, many injured persons were seen, as some protesters tried to extract bullets from bleeding people after the men in military uniform had opened fire.

Some were also seen administering CPR to revive other injured victims.

It was also widely reported by some eyewitnesses that several had been killed and the security officers were clearing up the bodies – claims which the military immediately dismissed all as fake news.

A recent investigation from the Cable News Network, (CNN) also faults the claims of the military, raising more questions from Nigerians.

#EndSARS: LCC Presents Footage From Lekki Toll Gate To Lagos Judicial Panel

LCC presents footage from Lekki Tollgate to Lagos Judicial Panel on October 21. Photo: Editi Effiong @Twitter

 

The judicial panel of inquiry set up by the Lagos State government to investigate cases of police brutality and extrajudicial killings has commenced another sitting.

The sitting began at 10:27 am on Saturday with the Lekki Concession Company being called first to give its testimony.

They are playing footage from the incidents of October 20 at the Lekki Tollgate.

Although the Nigerian Army will also continue its testimony from last week, the chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi says she will like them to see the footage from the LCC first.

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Meanwhile, the #EndSARS victims’ lawyer, Adeshina Ogunlana says all lawyers to parties present have agreed to watch the clips from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm of that day.