Why we have not obeyed court order to pay N2 million compensation to SARS victim – Police

AT the sitting of the Lagos State Judicial Panel on police brutality on Tuesday, the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigeria Police force has said it has been unable to obey a court order that ruled for the compensation of victims of police brutality due to non-availability of fund and miscommunication.

Nosa Uhumwango, the legal officer who represented the IRT said this at the Lagos State Judicial Panel hearing on Tuesday over failure to honour the court judgement.

“Most times, we have a lot of issues, once court judgement is being given, they ought to be forwarded to the police command that is Abuja and for the payment of such amount of money because we normally have a lot of constraints to pursue a case in the court of appeal and the constraint is finance.

“To pursue cases up to the supreme court, most times we stop at the court of appeal. In this case, it was the commander himself that has been footing the filing of the matter,” said Uhumwango.

He added that sometimes there are miscommunications when such court judgements are filed.

“The police are all over the place in the country and they might channel the matter to a wrong place, there are formations and commands in the police. The zone is different from state commands. Such cases have been happening where it is sent to the wrong place,” he added.

A couple, Okechukwu Obechina and Nzube Obechina had petitioned the panel complaining that the Police had failed to obey the judgement by two courts.

During Nzube’s first appearance before the panel on October 31st, she narrated how she had lost her two months’ pregnancy while she was detained for 22 days by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Ikeja, Lagos State.

On Tuesday, she told the panel that her husband was not allowed to bail her on three attempts on the excuse that the money for bail was incomplete.

However, the police argued that the couple were arrested while investigating the case of Evans, accused of kidnapping who was eventually arrested.

    Nzube argued that after she was questioned, the SARS operatives refused to release her two weeks after.

    “One week after he (Evans) was arrested, they detained my husband for one week more while I was detained for another two weeks. My husband was released earlier so he can go look for money to bail me out,” Nzube told the panel.

    Uhumwango tried to argue in favour of the IRT over the bail of the victims and allegations of human rights violation but the chairman of the panel, Doris Okuwobi said the panel cannot revisit a case that has been decided by the court adding that that is not the focus of the petition before the panel.

    Consequently, the case was adjourned while the registrar called for another case.

    Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via [email protected], on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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