Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Police Brutality – Day 22

Picture of the ongoing hearing at the Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on March 16, 2021

Table of Contents

This is a report of the twenty-second public hearing of the Oyo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Police Brutality, Violation of Rights of Citizens and Unlawful Killings in Oyo State.

Venue: The House of Chiefs, Oyo State House of Assembly, Ibadan, Oyo State.

Date: Tuesday March 16, 2021.

Today’s sitting commenced at about 9:19am, shortly after the arrival of the panelists. Altogether, there are eight petitions before the Oyo State Judicial Panel for today.

Cases at the Oyo State Judicial Panel

1. Case No. OYJPPB/088

Mrs Olukemi Olayiwola and Anor v The Nigeria Police, SARS Dugbe, Ibadan. The petitioners were absent and were not represented by a legal counsel. Meanwhile, CSP Funke Fawole represented the respondent.

The Police Officer in Charge Legal, CSP Fawole said that she had been served but was yet to file a response.

However, Mrs Oluwafolake Ogundele, the Oyo State Judicial Panel’s counsel, told the panel that the petition was written by a lawyer and he was informed about today’s sitting.

The petition was adjourned till March 31, 2021 for mention to enable the respondent file a response and to allow the petitioners and their counsel appear, before the Oyo State Judicial Panel. The panel also ordered that a fresh hearing notice be issued and served on the petitioners.

2. Case No. OYJPPB/089

Pastor Ajayi Opeyemi Isaac v The Nigeria Police, Akanran Police Station. The petitioner was present but was not represented by a legal counsel. CSP Funke Fawole appeared on behalf of the respondent.

CSP Fawole, the Police Officer in Charge Legal said that she had been served but was yet to file a response to the petition.

With this the petition was adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till March 31, 2021 for mention so as to enable the petitioner obtain the services of a pro bono counsel and for the respondent to file a response.

3. Case No. OYJPPB/090

Alfa Hamzat Ibrahim v Nigerian Correctional Service, Agodi Ibadan. The petitioner was absent and was not represented by a legal counsel. CSP Funke Fawole announced appearance on behalf of the respondent.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel was informed that the respondent was served last week Friday but the service was refused by the respondent. With this, the panel ordered that the processes of the petition and a fresh hearing notice be served on the Comptroller, Nigerian Correctional Service, Agodi Ibadan.

The petition was therefore adjourned by the Oyo State Judicial Panel till March 31, 2021 for mention or for striking out.

4. Case No. OYJPPB/091

Mr Alamu Toheeb v The Nigeria Police, Eleyele Police Station. The petitioner was absent and was not represented by a legal counsel. Meanwhile, CSP Funke Fawole represented the respondent at the sitting.

CSP Fawole, the Police Officer in Charge Legal said that she had been served but her findings had shown that the officers mentioned in the petition, are not recognised by the police. She however said that she hoped to file a response before the next adjourned date.

With this, the petition was adjourned till March 31, 2021 for the petitioner and his counsel to appear before the Oyo State Judicial Panel and for the respondent to file a response to the petition.

5. Case No. OYJPPB/092

Mr Azeez Jabaru v Nigeria Police, Mokola Station. The petitioner was absent and was not represented by a legal counsel. Meanwhile, CSP Funke Fawole maintained appearance on behalf of the respondent.

However, it was pointed out by the panel’s counsel, Mrs Oluwafolake Ogundele that the petition was written by Mrs Akinyemi Alimat, whose son is being held in Oyo State Prison. She further explained that Mrs Akinyemi was duly informed that her petition would appear before the panel today, but she was however absent. The panel therefore replaced the petitioner’s name with Mrs Akinyemi Alimat.

With this, the petition was adjourned till March 31, 2021 for mention. The Oyo State Judicial Panel also ordered that a fresh hearing notice be issued and served on Mrs Akinyemi Alimat.

Petitions for Hearing at the Oyo State Judicial Panel

6. Case No. OYJPPB/071

Mr Isadele John Olusegun v The Nigeria Police, Monatan Ibadan. The petitioner was present and was represented by Adeyemi Giwa (Esq.). CSP Funke Fawole announced appearance on behalf of the respondent.

The petition was last heard on the March 9, 2021 and the petition was adjourned till today so as to afford the respondent’s counsel the opportunity to open the case.

However, CSP Fawole, the Police Officer in Charge Legal pleaded with the panel for an adjournment for definite hearing because the witnesses she had intended to present before the panel, were absent.

Subject to the convenience of the Oyo State Judicial Panel, the petition was adjourned till April 22, 2021 for further hearing.

7. Case No. OYJPPB/059

Mr Ayodele Francis Olutoyin v FRSC. The petitioner was present and was represented by J. B. Olaoye (Esq.). Meanwhile, the respondent was represented by Oluwatodimu Bamisaye (Esq.).

The respondent’s counsel, Oluwatodimu Bamisaye (Esq.) said that having gone through the terms of reference of the panel, he strongly opined that the panel lacks the jurisdiction to hear the petition and a second look should be taken at the petition because the subject matter of the petition bothers on the administrative action of the FRSC, which is a Federal Government agency. He also said that the petition was written to challenge the validity of the action taken by FRSC to auction the petitioner’s car.

He further said that the 1999 constitution as amended, particularly section 251, subsection 1 and paragraphs P, Q and R confirms the jurisdiction of the Federal Republic to handle such petition.

In response, the petitioner’s counsel, J. B. Olaoye (Esq.) told the Oyo State Judicial Panel to discountenance and dismiss the application of the respondent’s counsel because it was a ploy to mislead and discredit the panel and that the objection should have been filed prior to the sitting. He therefore urged the panel to order the respondent’s counsel, to file a proper response to the petition.

However, the Oyo State Judicial Panel submitted that the issue of jurisdiction is fundamental and anything decided in the absence of jurisdiction in the court of law or judicial panel of inquiry, is an exercise in futility. The panel said that when a counsel raises a preliminary objection on the ground of jurisdiction, the counsel is assisting the court or panel so that precious time and resources are not wasted.

The Oyo State Judicial Panel therefore ruled that the terms of reference of the panel which is to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality and other related extra judicial killings, evaluate the evidence as well as recommend compensations and other remedial measures has made it impossible for the said matter as presented by the petitioner, to fall within the purview of the panel; because the agency involved in this matter is a Federal agency. With this, the preliminary objection of the respondent’s counsel was sustained and the panel declined jurisdiction.

Therefore, the Oyo State Judicial Panel advised the petitioner to explore other means and petition OYJPPB/059 was struck out.

8. Case No. OYJPPB/072

Chief M. A. Makinde v Oyo State Police Command and Three Others. The petitioner was present but he opted to represent himself at the hearing. Meanwhile, CSP Funke Fawole announced her appearance on behalf of the first respondent. With this, the petitioner was invited to the witness stand and the Holy Bible was used to administer the oath on him.

The petitioner’s name is Chief Moses Aderemi Makinde and he lives at (redacted), Ibadan. He is a subsistence farmer. He wrote the petition to the panel on the December 7, 2020.

According to him on the 29th December, 2019, he discovered that his molded blocks were missing so he reached out to the father of the person he had suspected, Isiaka Kareem to inform him that his blocks were missing. He said that he suspected Mr Kareem’s son because they live opposite each other and he had made the call for him to warn his son, Rilwan Kareem, to desist from stealing his blocks.

He said that the father of the suspect promised to call him in the evening when he returned from work but he didn’t. He said that at about 10:30pm, he heard one Mrs Musibau Rahman telling the suspect’s father not to come to his house because he has camera and the shouting continued as his gate was being banged in the process.

The petitioner said that he called Sergeant Sunday Audu on the phone the following day and Sergeant Audu came to his house at about 7:30am. He said that he and Sergeant Audu went to Ogbere Police Station where he was later joined by Isiaka Kareem and his family. On getting to the station, he was told to make a statement which he did before they were made to appear before the DCO of the station. He said that he wrote in his statement that his blocks were stolen, rams were tied in his compound without his permission, his gate was banged in the middle of the night and his life was being threatened.

He further said that he doesn’t know what Sergeant Audu told the DCO but the DCO instructed him to do his job. He said that immediately after this, Isiaka Kareem’s family was released while he was detained at the counter and was only allowed to go home after an hour. He said that he charged Isiaka Kareem’s family to Iyaganku Magistrate Court the next day because he was unlawfully detained by the police. With this he submitted the motion of notice, charge sheet, and the bundle of statements stapled together; they were marked as exhibits A, B and C respectively. He prayed the government for monetary assistance to ameliorate his expenses on litigation which was over two million naira.

The petitioner was cross examined by CSP Fawole, the Police Officer in Charge Legal after which she rested the case.

With this, the petition was adjourned sine die.

Having gone through the proceedings for today, the hearing was brought to a close at about 1:51pm.