The Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS related abuses and other matters will suspend its sitting until further notice, after Saturday (today’s) session.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi, announced this at the resumed sitting of the panel.
“There are two reports that we are expected to work on; we are not close enough to any of them,” she said. “We cannot continue with the sitting and end the assignment without concluding. So, we will not be sitting from today.
“We have to collate and evaluate petitions already heard so as to make findings and recommendations, even on the Lekki shooting. But as soon as we find ourselves in a comfortable situation, we will send hearing notices for cases that have been listed.
“Please bear with us, we cannot speculate on any further extension. We have to work towards completing the assignment as early as we can.”
“This is without any prejudice to us coming back to conclude on part-heard cases. Dates will be communicated to petitioners who have petitions pending,” Okuwobi added.
Following the announcement, the panel went on to hear and conclude the cross-examination of a pathologist, Professor John Obafunwa, and one of the EndSARS coordinators, Serah Ibrahim.
Both witnesses were discharged after they concluded their testimonies.
Following the extension of its tenure by another three months, the panel is expected to conclude its sitting by October 19.
Meanwhile, lead counsel to the Lagos State government, Abiodun Owonikoko, however, told the panel that with regards to the Lekki shooting, the state intended to call two expert witnesses – a ballistician and a security expert.
“One of the experts was commissioned from the UK and the other is a highly placed security expert,” he said.
“We want an indication on when the panel will reconvene so that we can guide them on when specifically they will appear,” he said.
After this submission, the panel rose to confer and make a decision on how to proceed.
When the panel returned, Justice Okuwobi regretted that the panel would not be able to take the witnesses before taking its break.
“On the application, the quality of the witnesses we envisage will slow the panel down… we only have 27 working days to the end of this assignment,” she said. “We are of the firm view that we cannot accommodate such evidence at this time.
“It will be highly impossible and impracticable to take the two witnesses and it is the panel’s greatest concern that we get our report ready for the terminal date of this assignment.”