By Muhaimin Olowoporoku
The Lagos State judicial panel hearing cases of police brutality and investigating the October 20, 2020 shooting has started hearing petitions against the Nigerian army despite the military officers being absent.
The army for the fifth time has snubbed summons of the judicial panel as the panel chairperson, Justice Doris Okuwobi (retd) ruled during the last adjourned date on Saturday, January 30, 2021 that cases against the army would be heard even if the army does not show up.
At the time of writing, the petition of Lucky Philemon, who alleged that Army officers shot him on October 20, 2020, is being heard by the panel.
Lucky Philemon testifies that as a result of shootings by army officials at the toll gate on the 20th of October, his left leg has been amputated rendering him jobless.
On the last petition date, January 30, 2020, Justice Doris Okuwobi had said that there was nothing the panel could do if the army decides not to honour summons and appear before it.
She ruled, however, that the panel would hear petitions against them even if they refuse to appear.
” If they have nothing to say, we will take on the petition as if they were defended (referring to the army). I made that clear,” she said.
“We have tried our best, we have served the chief of army staff beyond that there is nothing the panel can do.”
The army was listed in six out of nine petitions listed for today. When the army was called for the first petition, its officers or legal representatives were not present and other petitions followed.