The Abuja judicial panel set up to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by the police, in its first judgement since its formation, has given a verdict in favour of a complainant whose property documents were unjustly confiscated by the police in Abuja.

The complainant, Gabriel Ofoma, was in possession of the owenship documents of the land he bought from one Attom Gujja until 2019 when he was invited to testify against the latter when a criminal case was instituted against him.

Mr Gujja, a managing director of a real estate company, was dragged before the court by a complainant claiming ownership of the land located at Plot 104, Lugbe, Abuja.

It is amidst this legal battle that the FCT Commissioner of Police asked the victim to avail police the original documents of the property, a request he obliged.

Mr Ofoma, in his first appearance before Justice Suleiman Galadima-led panel on November 18, 2020, said he was ambushed by Iliya Dangsedi, a police inspector, and two others, within the Wuse Zone 6 Chief Magistrate Court premises, after the court struck out the case against Mr Gujja and ordered that the land documents be returned to him.

“He said I should give him the documents for further investigation and I did but insisted on taking a picture of him collecting the document from me,” he told the panel.

After hearing from all sides, Mr Galadima adjourned the case to December 2, 2020 and mandated the police to present the documents.

Old Ofoma sitting before the Abuja.
Old Ofoma sitting before the Abuja.

Giving its first verdict on Wednesday, three weeks into the hearing, the chairperson of the panel set up by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), handed over the documents to Mr Ofoma, who investigation has established to be the owner of the property.

“There is an end to every litigation, and the matter has been put to an end and no more,” he closed the case, faulting the police for confisticating the property illegally.

The panel has so far only concluded a case out of the over 20 cases presented before it.

Inadequate evidence or documents and reluctance of witnesses from the parties involved are among the obstacles hampering the proceedings.

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