The lawyers for the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on Friday stalled proceedings at the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters. The police had requested for an adjournment of the proceedings of the hearing of the two petitions slated to be heard due to their inability to trace the alleged erring officers of the NPF.
The two petitions are – Mr Ndukwe Ekekwe vs SARS and Mr Olajide Fowotade vs FSARS. In the Ekekwe matter, the petitioner, a 34-year-old trader was allegedly paralysed when he was pushed from a two-storey building by men of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The police counsel, Mr Emmanuel Eze who had been cross-examining Ekekwe had asked for an adjournment because the legal team of the police were unable to get in touch with officers of the disbanded police unit. Ekekwe had provided the photograph and phone number of Haruna Hamza, the SARS officer who was a member of the team that allegedly pushed him from the building.
“We will apply for a very short adjournment. The reasons are because of the disbandment of SARS and other tactical teams, we have difficulty getting in touch with them. We are in the process of getting there and the phone number of the officer that the petitioner provided here did not go through. I apply that the panel tries the number, it did not go through, in the overall interest of justice we apply for this adjournment,” Eze said. In the Fowotade matter, the petitioner in his testimony on Oct. 31, had told the panel that a policeman called ‘Ayo’ of the Ketu Police Station had brutalised him during a traffic dispute. The petitioner said he lost his front teeth due to the police brutality.
During Friday’s proceedings, the police legal team said they were unable to contact the police officer. “The petitioner did not mention the surname of Ayo, we could not trace the name to Zone 2 where he claimed to have reported the incident. We could not make headway. We need to get the case file of Ayo and his contact. We are constrained to ask for an adjournment because we are without the Ayo or the case file,” Eze said.