There was a mild drama at the venue of Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other related matters with panel members divided on repossession of the Lekki tollgate by the concessionaire, Lekki Concession Company (LCC).
As gathered, the face-off between panel members started after the chairman, Justice Doris Okuwobi (retd) approved LCC’s request to reopen the tollgate for onward assessment of damages recorded after the military allegedly attacked youths protesting against police brutality at the junction of Lekki-Epe expressway.
The approval, it was learnt, angered some members of the panel who rose at the seating on Saturday and delivered a verdict that was at variance with the chairman’s ruling on the facility.
Okuwobi gave a ruling allowing LCC to repossess the toll gate after its counsel, Demola Seriki, represented the firm’s request for the fourth time before the panel and argued that approving the repossession would assist LCC to claim its benefit from the insurance company.
After listening to the request, the chairman, alongside four members including Segun Awosanya( Popularly known as Segalink), Oluwatoyin Odusanya (Director, Citizens right), DIG Taiwo Lakanu ( representing the police), and Lucas Koyejo (from the National Human Rights Commission), granted LCC submission before the panel.
Seconds after the panel ruling in LCC’s favour, the members against the move led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, walked into the room and kicked against the ruling, arguing that it would distort ongoing investigations.
Adegboruwa, accompanied by other three members of the panel, Patience Udoh (representing civil society), Rinuola Oduola, and Temitope Majekodunmi (representing the youths), proceeded to deliver dissenting decisions on Lekki tollgate reopening.
Earlier, Seriki, lawyer to LCC, asked the panel to allow the company take possession of the toll gate plaza for the purpose of evaluating the damage done so as to be able to make insurance claims needed to effect the necessary repairs which he says will last about two months.