The Lagos State Government has released the two volumes of the report of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry (JPI), detailing the fallout of the #EndSARS protests in October last year.
The second volume of the Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel, which is hitting the public space for the first time, showed that of the 65 petitions to the committee by members of the police force impacted by the demonstration, 11 were considered worthy of resolution.
Aside the retired Judge of the Lagos State High Court, Okuwobi, other members of the panel were Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Taiwo Lakanu, Patience Patrick-Udoh (Representative Civil Society), ‘Segun Awosanya,Oluwatoyin Odusanya, Lucas Koyejo, Majekodunmi Oluwaseun and Mr. Babajide Boye, who acted as secretary.
The two-volume document were presented to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on the 15th of November 2021, but the volume covering the events that took place at the Lekki Tollgate was earlier leaked to the public.
Tagged “Consolidated Report on General Police Brutality Cases,” out of the 11 cases, eight were considered worthy of compensation while three were considered undeserving.
Although awarded various sums, the panel said the funds had been exhausted and therefore appealed to Sanwo-Olu to augment the N400 million earlier made available for the purpose.
The 11 police petitions reviewed by the panel were those of ACP Folashade Daniel, who in a 16-paragraph affidavit prayed the panel for compensation for grievous bodily harm and destruction of her personal properties during the protests while she was serving as the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) at Orile, Lagos.
Although she added that her Toyota Camry was burnt in the process, the panel awarded N3 million for the bodily injury she suffered while the loss of her property was transferred to the federal government for assessment and payment of compensation.
Other petitioners considered by the panel included ACP Oketunji Sola, ASP Elizabeth Enadhuze, Iliyasu Muhammed, Shina Olunlade, Gbolahan Olugbemi and Taiwo Kasumu.
Also on the list were David John, who sent in a petition on behalf of his deceased brother, DSP John Ogbene (rtd), Insp. Jennifer Edosonwan, Akiniyi Olumide and Adeyemi Abiodun.
“At the close of hearing and deliberation during the conference, which held on 30th October, 2021, eight of the petitions were found to be meritorious while three were not awarded compensation.
“The sum of N36, 200,000.00 was awarded as compensation to the deserving petitioners. It is however imperative to note that the panel only awarded for grievous bodily harm or other forms of assault occasioned to them or their immediate family members to the exclusion of all other claims.
“However, due to the exhaustion of the N400, 000, 000 set aside by the state governor as victims compensation fund, the panel was unable to award the said compensation to the deserving petitioners.
“The panel consequently recommends that the state government approves and release the amounts awarded to the respective petitioners,” the body suggested.
In general, the panel recommended the prompt removal of section 84 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act of 2004, which it said hinders claimants from fully realising judgement sums given by various courts.
It further called for reinforcement and reinvigoration of the Complaint Response Unit (CRU) of the police force, setting up structures for reporting bad police behaviour, improvement of the general welfare of police, curbing the application of violence by the police and prompt arrest and prosecution of erring officers.
Among others, it further stated that the constitutional timeframe within which suspects must be kept within custody must be observed at all times.
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja