The Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of SARS and other related matters on Tuesday listed nine petitions, for hearing.
In the first petition of Omeli Humphrey Darlington VS the Nigeria Police, the panel resumed for the adoption of the final written addresses by counsel for the petitioner, Olukoya Ogungbeje and counsel for the respondent, Cyril Ejiofor.
Ejiofor representing the Nigerian Police adopted his final address but contested paragraph 4.3 of the petitioner’s address.
The panel then reserved its decision after saying that it will notify lawyers when same is ready.
The second petition taken was that of Ibrahim Kabiru VS the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS).
Again, Olukoya Ogungbeje represented the petitioner while Cyril Ejiofor was for the Nigeria Police Force.
At the proceedings, the petitioner tendered his documents in response to the written address and document of the police.
In his documents, the petitioner asked the panel to use its powers to secure obedience and compliance with a court judgement of N200 million naira in his favour and granted against the police, but the police counsel stated that the matter is still pending before the Court of Appeal.
The Petitioner counsel, Olukoya Ogungbeje sought to tender the following documents:
(1) An Order of 29th September 2017 between Ibrahim Kabiru vs IGP and others
(2) An Order Absolute of the judgement sum of N200 million naira of 9th April 2019 between Ibrahim Kabiru vs IGP and others.
(3) A 1st July, 2019 ruling dismissing the police application for stay of execution of the order absolute
(4) An 18th January, 2019 ruling dismissing the police application to set aside garnishee order.
The police had sought a stay of execution before the Court of Appeal and this was said to have been dismissed on May 7, 2017.
Mr. Ogungbeje also asked the panel to allow the petitioner file his address since the police had filed its address and served same on the petitioner.
The Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi ruled that the petitioner shall submit a written address within three days before adjourning to January 20.
In the third petition of Mrs Tolulope Aminat Openiyi VS the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) the police counsel told the panel that the police officer alleged to have been involved in the case has been transferred.
The counsel says he has initiated signals for the police officer to be released so he can come to testify before the panel.
Since he is yet to get a response, he urged the panel to grant an adjournment.
The counsel to the petitioner, Babatunde Adefila opposed the request for an adjournment and instead asked the panel to foreclose the right of the respondent to call any other witness. He also asked for the case to be closed because in his opinion, “the matter has been on since October, 2020”.
But the respondent’s counsel asked to be given one more opportunity to produce his witness.
The panel in acceding to the request of the respondent adjourned the matter to January 26.
In the fourth petition of Oladoyin Ademola VS the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), the Police counsel stated that the petition was nebulous because according to him, the claim by the petitioner that in 2007 he was slapped by a policeman, was not accompanied by the name of the policeman involved.
The jurisdiction of the police station was also not stated and the location was unknown.
Consequently, the police counsel urged the panel not to allow the petition to be heard since the petitioner had failed to provide any specifics regarding the case.
Thereafter, the panel agreed with the police counsel and asked the petitioner to furnish the panel with the specifics of his petition before he would be allowed to proceed.
The Chairman of the panel also informed the petitioner that he could take advantage of the free legal services by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
The petitioner agreed and the NBA offered to take up the case. Counsel to the NBA, AC Eze then asked for an adjournment to enable him familiarise himself with the facts of the petition.
In acceding to the request of the NBA counsel, the panel adjourned the matter to January 27.
In the 5th case, the petitioner, DR. Faleye Oludare Stephen was absent neither was he represented by a counsel.
With no objections from other lawyers in court, the panel ordered that a hearing notice should be issued to the petitioner before the next adjourned date.
The police counsel, Cyril Ejiofor also told the panel that the presence of the commander of the Lagos State task force would be required in the petition. This made the panel Chairman, Justice Doris Okuwobi to also order that a summons be issued against him.
The petition was then adjourned to January 27.
The 6th petition called was a case involving Akinmade Akinrolabu VS the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS). Again, the petitioner was absent neither was he represented by a counsel.
The panel was informed that the petitioner was bereaved and had sent a request for an adjournment. The panel granted the request and adjourned the petition to February 3.
In the 7th petition between, Chijioke Owoh Vs Inspector General of Police & Others, the police counsel notified the panel that the subject matter of the petition was already before the court but the petitioner’s counsel, Abari O. Abari said that the case had been struck out.
He asked the panel to allow the petition to be heard on its merit.
The Chairman of the panel, Justice Okuwobi asked the petitioner’s counsel to produce before the panel, a copy of the court order which struck out the case.
Until this is done, the panel would not be able to take on the petition.
In view of the development above, the panel adjourned the matter to February 3, for further consideration.
In the 8th petition involving Chukwu Vincent Chukwu, the petitioner adopted his written address but the police counsel objected on the grounds that the institution had not been served a copy of the document.
The petitioner’s counsel, Olukoya Ogungbeje claimed he was not directed by the panel to serve the respondent.
In the address, the petitioner urged the panel to grant his request for the award of N40million naira to the petitioner and his family by the court.
Counsel to the Lagos State Government, Olukayode Enitan (SAN) also adopted his address dated January 12.
The police counsel raised objections and queried the involvement of the learned silk who he said, “ought to be a neutral party in the matter”.
The police counsel also queried the use of the words, “having found this petition established”..in the address of the SAN.
He said the words assumed judgement by the State Government over the petition. The police counsel, therefore, asked the panel to expunge the written address of the Lagos State government counsel or adjourn to enable him respond appropriately.
But Mr. Olukayode Enitan (SAN) countered by insisting that he merely asked the panel to uphold the court judgement on the issue. He also submitted that the position of his client, the Lagos State Government, is focused on justice.
He urged the panel to overrule the objections of the police counsel and to grant him an adjournment to enable him respond to the address.
The petition was subsequently adjourned to January 30, for adoption of addresses.
In the 9th petition, involving a legal practitioner, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje VS the Nigeria Police Force, the petitioner who represented himself told the panel that at the last hearing, the submission by the police that the case was ongoing in court was not correct.
He tendered documents to disprove the submission of the police. The petitioner said he a court judgment for the award of N20 million and that no application for stay of execution is pending anywhere and so the matter has been concluded.
The petitioner also claimed that the N20 million court judgement came about as a result of the invasion of his law chambers by the police for instituting a N500 million suit against them.
He tendered documents to back up his submission.
The Petitioner asked the panel to allow him file his final written address and serve same on the police.
The police counsel however countered by stating that he filed an application in 2017 for a stay of execution of the court judgment and that the submission of Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje that there was no application for stay of execution was not correct.
The police counsel also tendered documents to back up his submission and it was admitted and marked as exhibit.
But Mr. Ogungbeje objected to the admissibility of the documents tendered and stated that the cases are different, but the police counsel urged the panel to overrule his objection to the documents.
The panel overruled Mr. Ogungbeje’s submission and admitted the documents as exhibits. The panel then asked the police counsel to also make available to it, his records of the court proceedings before adjourning further proceedings in the petition to February 3.