By Chioma Onuegbu – Uyo
The Judicial Panel investigating incidences of police brutality, human rights violation and related extra judicial killings in Akwa Ibom State has struck out the petition filed against former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Onofiok Luke.
Chairman of the Panel, Justice Ifiok Ukana struck out the petition yesterday following its pendency at the Court of appeal.
Justice Ukana noted that the Judicial panel lacked jurisdiction to preside over a matter that its judgement had already been given at the Federal high court and subsequently taken to the court of Appeal by the petitioner.
Luke’s Lawyer, Mr. Ekemini Udim, had filed a notice of objection on the petition that the Panel has no power to entertain the petition, and argued that the Panel could not investigate a petition whose subject matter is at the same time pending before the Court of Appeal.
Udim even cited an earlier judgement delivered on the same case by Justice Fatun O. Riman of the Federal High Court no 2, Uyo on Monday January, 15, 2018.
His words, “Judgement 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.
, “I want to inform this court that 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.
“Honourable Onofiok Luke is a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has never worked in Nigeria Police Force and never intended to do so.
“The terms of reference of this Panel do not cover the investigation of petitions made against private citizens and the DSS personnel mentioned in the petition is equally not a member of the Nigeria Police Force”
Udim further argued that the petition has been caught up by the principles of res judicata and lis pendens and that the Panel had no jurisdiction to proceed with the petition.
Recall that the judicial panel had two weeks ago summoned Luke who is currently representing Etinan federal consituency and one DSS personnel, Mr. Godwin Courage Eze who was his orderly when he was Speaker of state House of Assembly to appear before it following a petition filed against them by one Dr. David Udo on November 15 , 2020.
Dr Udo had in his petition no JPPB/MEMO/ 069 alleged assault on him in 2017 by security operatives attached to Luke then, thereby violating his fundamental rights and prayed the Panel to open an investigation into the matter.