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Judicial panel dismisses petition against NASS member in Akwa Ibom

The Judicial Panel of Investigation on Incidences of Police Brutality in Akwa Ibom State, has dismissed the petiton filed against Hon. Onofiok Luke, member representing Etinan…

The Judicial Panel of Investigation on incidences of Police brutality in Akwa Ibom State has dismissed the petition filed against Hon. Onofiok Luke, member representing Etinan Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
Luke, who was the former Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, was accused of breaching the fundamental human rights of the petitioner, Dr. David Udo.
Udo filed the petition against Luke on November 15, 2020 and prayed the panel to open an investigation into the allegation that security operatives attached to the then Speaker of the State House of Assembly breached his fundamental rights in 2017.
During the hearing on Wednesday in Uyo, counsel to Luke, Ekemini Udim, filed a notice of objection, stating that the panel had no power to entertain the petition.
He argued that the subject matter of the petition had already been decided upon and dismissed by the Federal High Court in its judgment delivered on January 15, 2018.
He said as such the panel had no jurisdiction to sit over a matter that had already been decided and dismissed by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Udim further explained that the petitioner has a pending appeal at the Court of Appeal in Calabar against the judgment of the Federal High Court on the matter.
He emphasised that the panel cannot investigate a petition whose subject matter is at the same time pending before the Court of Appeal.
He argued that since Luke is a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and has never worked in the Nigeria Police Force, the terms of reference of the panel does not cover the investigation of petitions made against him, and that the DSS personnel mentioned in the petition is equally not a member of the Nigeria Police Force.
“The suit at the Federal High Court under reference was filed on the petitioner’s behalf by Inibeghe Effiong of Inibeghe Effiong Chambers and the complaint in the said suit was the same as the complaint in the petition before the Panel.
“That the suit was presided over by Hon. Justice Fatun O. Riman of the Federal High Court No. 2, Uyo Judicial Division.
“That on Monday, the 15th day of January, 2018, judgment was delivered in the matter wherein the court held inter alia as follows: ‘I have come to the conclusion that this suit lacks merit. He who asserts must prove. It now remains for me to give the last order and it is that this suit fails and is hereby dismissed. This is the judgment of this court’,” he stated.
Udim insisted that the petition has been caught up by the principles of res judicata and lis pendens and the panel had no jurisdiction to proceed with the petition.
In its ruling, the panel, presided over by Justice Ifiok Ukana, agreed with the submissions of Udim, Counsel to the defendant, and struck out the petition.

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