Army's Absence Forces Lagos Judicial Panel to Adjourn Sitting

The Lagos State judicial panel on restitution for victims of SARS related abuses and other matters were forced to quickly adjourned it's sitting on Saturday as majority of the petitions involved the Nigerian Army that didn't show up.

While examining petitions brought before it, the Nigeria Army and the Nigeria police force were joint respondents, but the latter failed to present any representation as its lawyer was not at the sitting.

The absence of the Army's legal counsel made the panel to inquire through its secretariat. 

According to the panel counsel, Jonathan Ogunsanya, the Nigeria Army was properly served through the office of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in Abuja, and the offices of the other officers summoned by the panel as well as the lead counsel of the Nigeria Army A. C. Kehinde SAN. 

He even said he personally called his colleague on phone, but he told him that he has discharged his contractual agreement with the Army through the appearance of Brig. General Ibrahim Taiwo, that he was no longer the legal counsel of the Army.

This was hotly contested by Adeshina Ogunlana and Olamide Fusika (SAN) who were supported by Olukayode Enitan (SAN) counsel for Lagos state government who aligned himself with his learned brothers. 

They all urged the panel to summon the learned silk to appear before the panel because the matter for which he made an appearance had not yet been concluded.

After due consideration, the panel directed that the Nigeria Army be re-served summons attached with the petitions and that Mr A. C. Kehinde (SAN) also be summoned with a hearing notice to appear before the panel before the next adjourned date. 

The panel also implored the Nigeria Army to be summoned to appear and respond to allegations levelled against it for the sake of fair hearing and justice. 

In all, 5 petitions in which the Nigeria Army was listed as respondent were all adjourned to 30th January 2021.

In a related development, two other petitions listed and called for the day were adjourned due to the absence of a counsel for one, who agreed to take advantage of the window of free legal services by the NBA and so the case was adjourned.

In the other one, the petitioner was absent and was not represented by a counsel, but the panel in its magnanimity adjourned the matters to 12th February 2021 for hearing.

The last case of the day was adjourned to enable the petitioner counsel to gather her facts for the commencement of proceedings.

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