Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Ondo state Judicial Panel on police brutality ends sitting

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The Ondo state judicial panel on Police brutality and other matters has ended its sitting after closing all the cases before it.

Chairman of the panel Justice Adesola Sidiq noted that the panel will now focus on making the necessary recommendations to the state government.

Orange FM’s Flora Iweanya reports that while outlining the progress report of the panel, Justice Sidiq informed that the panel heard 77 petitions while 4 were struck out for lack of competence and diligent prosecution.

On the last day of hearing, a car dealer, Oladimeji Olatunbosun who was allegedly brutalized by operatives of the defunct SARS on February 24 2020 .

The SARS operatives allegedly manhandled him while taking away 8 cars from his shop, and they subsequently tortured him to confess to robbery during a three month detention in Abeokuta.

The petitioner’s counsel Joshua Ayobami said his client is seeking redress for the brutality and gross violation of his human rights, while urging the panel to recommend a 100 million naira compensation, public apology from the police and rehabilitation into the society.

However counsel to the police Tolu Abisagbo said the indicted police officers could not be reached as at hearing date because they are supposed to be in Ogun not ondo state.

Similarly, a petition by Abiodun Owoyemi and others versus the defunct SARS on illegal arrest on a land matter was heard with the petitioner tendering documents to support her ownership of the property.

Another petitioner, Mrs Olorunkemi Abiodun who said she lost a three month old pregnancy while in custody of the defunct SARS was also cross examined by the respondent’s counsel Tolu Abisagbo who said the accused station officer of the defunct SARS, Sikiru Lawal claimed ignorance of them.

The police counsel then tendered a posting record to show the names of all the officers during the year in review and one corporal Reuben who was also mentioned by the petitioners did not exist at that time too.

He described the evidence of the petitioners as conflicting due to the fact that the couple involved gave different testimonies in the case.

The case of OIuwanefun James was also concluded with his counsel Benjamin Obitor Urging the panel to set up an investigation of one Damilola Iyabo whose account was used to extort money from the petitioner even as police counsel absolved the police of posting operatives to Owena.

The petitions by the PDP, The Nigerian correctional service and Mrs Layo Komolafe on property destruction were closed for recommendations.

The petition by Sunday Ossai versus the defunct SARS was struck out for lack of diligent prosecution.

After 34 days of sitting, with 14 cases against police brutality and 59 on destruction of properties during the endsars agitation, it was time to bring the proceedings to a close.

Chairman of the panel Retired justice Adesola Sidiq explained that the next step is to make recommendations to government.

Sidiq noted that the clarification became imperative following reports that some state judicial panels were already awarding compensation to Petitioners.