In a bid to hear as many cases as possible before the October 19 deadline, the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry Saturday says it would begin a process called “front-loading.”

The panel’s sitting was supposed to conclude its activities on April 19 but was given three months extension to hear petitions till July 19. The sitting was again extended until October 19.

The panel head, Doris Okuwobi, announced during the panel session in Lekki, Lagos, that the new development will reduce to the barest minimum, the amount of time spent on petitions and ensure speedy dispensation of justice.

“It is important that every petition or petitioner be given an equal duty of being heard and to achieve that task we have put in place amendment of front loading of the processes which will be more time-saving in terms of sitting and in terms of working outside the panel, Mrs Okuwobi, a retired judge, said.

“So, this will now take effect from the 2nd of August. It will determine the listing of fresh petitions which have not been opened. The earlier you comply with the rules by front-loading, …we will then have cause to list fresh matters that can then come up before the panel.

“It is our appeal that petitioners in particular, who do not understand the process, seek advice on the front-loading. The rules are very clear, just. We want your evidence on the affidavit, evidence of your cases on affidavit. What you have in petition just have to be put in place of an affidavit and sworn to the court, so the evidence of the witnesses.

“I’m sure petitioners are not going to have any difficulty with complying with the front-loading process.

“And all documents you want to present to the panel should come in ahead of the hearing of the petition and properly served on the respondents.”

The front-loading process means that the petitioners will state their petitions in writing and the panel will adopt it and begin cross-examination.

Front-loading is a deviation from the usual panel session where petitioners orally recount their ordeals in the hands of security operatives before cross-examination from the state lawyers.

Usually, the oral narration of their experiences take about an hour or more but with this announcement, a lawyer, who declined to be quoted and identified because he was not authorised to speak, told PREMIUM TIMES at the panel that it would take less than 15 minutes.


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