The Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters, on Friday, delivered its decision on 34 petitions pending before it.

A retired judge heading the panel, Doris Okuwobi, gave the panel’s decision on the cases.

The 34 cases are petitions by victims of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other arms of the police, who have gone to court, obtained judgements but unable to execute them.

In the different petitions, victims of SARS abuses narrated their ordeals with officers of the defunct SARS and how they were awarded compensations in competent courts of jurisdiction but yet to receive the relief.

The judgment sums awarded to the petitioners are N2 million, N5 million, N10 million, N20 million among others.

Petitions, decisions

Some of the petitions on which decisions were delivered on are; Bonu Pascal and family vs FSARS; Ibrahim Kabiru vs FSARS; Okwuchukwu Obiechina and Nzube Obiechina vs. FSARS; Afeez Mojeed vs. FSARS; Philip Enwerem vs. FSARS; Tomori Gbolade vs. NPF; Titi Agnes vs. FSARS; and many others.

One of the petitioners, Bonu Pascal, approached the panel for the enforcement of N300 million judgement against the police and Badagry Local Government Area, Lagos State over the death of his son.

The police lawyer, however, told the panel that the matter is at the appeal court and outside the jurisdiction of the panel.

Another petitioner, Nzube Obiechina, prayed the panel to compel the Nigerian Police Force to pay N2 million awarded to her at the Federal High Court, Ikeja.

The judge awarded the sum as compensation for the torture and brutality she suffered in the hands of SARS, including losing two-months pregnancy in the process.

Another petitioner, Tomori Gbolagade, who was shot by a drunk police officer in Lagos, appealed to the panel to help him get the judgement sum awarded to him by the Federal High Court in 2015.

“The court awarded $31,562 and another $15,000 for the third stage and N5 million for the general damage, physical and emotional,” he said.

Giving her decision on the petitions, Mrs Okuwobi said the panel would compile the names of all petitioners with subsisting court judgments with no appeal pending against them to the federal government for enforcement of judgment.

“The state and federal government of Nigeria have committed themselves in paying the sum given to victims of human rights abuse as expressed in the section of the law. By the virtue of section 207 of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, judgment of courts is to be respected by all persons,” Mrs Okuwobi said.

The panel recommended the judgment sums should be paid to the petitioners.

“The panel further recommends that the National Assembly immediately and urgently look into the provision of section 84 subsection 2 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act (2004), in order to address the frustration experienced by parties who obtain judgments against the government and its agencies but are denied the fruits of their judgment, which is not in the best interest of justice,” the retired judge said.

While a similar decision was given on all petitions with subsisting court judgements, the panel struck out petitions that are pending before the appellate court.

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