Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution and SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters has reserved Ruling on Convicted Kidnapping kingpin Evans Sister and Husband Petition
The Lagos State Judicial Panel on restitution for victims of SARS related abuses and other matters today Tuesday 8th December, 2020 at its sitting in Lagos, reserved ruling to a later date to be communicated to the counsels to both parties in the case, the petitioners and respondent counsel, after the adoption of written address from both sides in a petition brought by Mr. Okwuchukwu Obiechina and Mrs. Nzube Obiechina vs Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).
Earlier, Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje, counsel to the petitioners Mr and Mrs Obiechina, convicted kidnapping kingpin sister and her husband, had urged the panel to award in favour of his clients, the grounds of his petition, but he was countered by the respondent counsel who urged the panel to dismiss the petition on the grounds that the petitioners were arrested by the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and not by the Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) as alleged in the petition. He also claimed that there were two subsisting court judgements with regards to the petitioners case.
However, the panel after listening to both counsels, in a decision read by the chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi (Rtd.) reserved ruling on the petition to a later date to be communicated to both parties counsel.
In other cases of the day, such as the petition of Mrs. Tolulope Aminat Openiyi vs Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), while the petitioner counsel was ready for the cross examination of his client, the respondent counsel asked for a stand down of the case for a brief period of time.
However, due to the exigencies of time, the panel through the chairman Justice Doris Okuwobi (Rtd), adjourned the matter to 15th December, 2020 for further hearing.
Same fate befell the petition of Mrs. Hannah Olugbodi vs Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) as the respondent counsel asked for a stand down or short adjournment to allow for other members of the respondent team to be present. Justice Doris Okuwobi (Rtd) adjourned the matter to 14th December, 2020 for further hearing.
In another petition of Mr. Ndukwe Ezekwe vs Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), while the petitioner counsel Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje expressed readiness to go on with the case, the respondent counsel requested for a short adjournment because of the absence of the IPO of the case whom he claimed is a critical witness to the truth of the matter. He based his pleadings on the fact that the witness is based in Enugu state and that he left his base yesterday to be able to honour the panel summon. He even stated that they are n possession of a video clip which is crucial to the matter and also contained a clip of the petitioner being interviewed by a medical doctor..
Petitioner counsel Mr. Olukoya Ogungbeje objected to the request for an adjournment claiming that the respondent counsel was waisting the time of the panel which has a time frame with his recurring request for adjournment. He requested the panel to close the case and call for the submission of written addressees by both counsels.
After listening to the legal fireworks by both counsels, panel chairman Justice Doris Okuwobi (Rtd.) noted that the hearing of the petition started on November 3rd, 2020 and has been adjourned 5 times, but because of the fact that the witness is coming from a location outside the jurisdiction of the panel and because of the importance of the said video clip to the petition, she thereafter adjourned the matter to the 15th of December, 2020.
In the case of Olajide Fowotade vs Nigeria Police Force, the respondent counsel informed the panel of it’s inability to serve the witness and alleged torturer of Mr. Olajide Fowotade, Sergeant Ayo Odudu in person, though he was contacted via phone. Panel counsel Mr. Jonathan Ogunsanya also told the panel how 3 unsuccessful attempts have been made to serve Sergeant Ayo Odudu, but to no avail. However, respondent counsel advised that Sergeant Ayo Odudu office be served instead and the panel requested for their assistance in that regard. Consequently, the panel adopted the advise to serve panel summon on Sergeant Ayo Odudu office via DIG zone 2 with the request for the assistance of the police counsel and adjourned the matter to 14th December, 2020.
In the case of Ifeanyi Ogbonna Nelson vs Nigeria Police Force, the panel was informed of the withdrawal of the petition by the petitioner counsel and it was accordingly struck out.
In the final case of the day, involving David Fadile vs Nigeria Police Force, the petitioner was absent and the respondent counsel requested for the petition to be struck out on the basis of repeated absence of the petitioner from the panel sitting citing it as a lack of respect for the panel.
But the Lagos State government counsel, Mr. Olukayode Enitan, pleaded that the petitioner be given another opportunity to appear and requested for an adjournment. The panel obliged his plea and adjourned the matter to the 14th of December, 2020