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‘It’s premature’ — Adegboruwa opposes reopening of Lekki tollgate

‘It’s premature’ — Adegboruwa opposes reopening of Lekki tollgate
February 07
09:00 2021

Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, a member of the Lagos state judicial panel, has described the ruling directing the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) to repossess the Lekki tollgate as “hasty and premature”.

In her ruling on Saturday, Doris Okuwobi, a retired judge heading the panel, said insurers can commence assessment of the damage at the facility, renovate and resume its business.

According to the judge, “no party has shown evidence of any further need to investigate” the tollgate.

Adegboruwa, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), however, joined some members of the panel, especially the youth representatives, to give a dissenting opinion on the ruling after its sitting.

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They claimed the ruling was not reflective of their opinion to deny a repossession.

In a statement on the ruling obtained by TheCable, Adegboruwa said the full details of the forensic analysis was not yet available.

“I have had the privilege of the mindset of some other members of the Panel favourable to the application of the LCC, I do not agree with or subscribe to the decision of majority members of the Panel on this matter, to permit LCC to takeover the Toll Plazas, leading to the Dissenting Opinion delivered herein,” Adegboruwa said in the statement.

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“The Toll Plazas were handed over to the Panel by the legal owner thereof, that is the Lagos State Government, through the amendment of its terms of reference to include the Lekki Toll Gate Incident of 20th October 2020.

“Therefore, the Panel has jurisdiction over the Toll Plazas for the duration of its assignment. By the Amended Instrument and Terms of Reference of the Panel, it lacks the jurisdiction to hand over the Toll Plazas until it has concluded its assignment.

“Investigation by the Panel over the Lekki Toll Gate Incident is still ongoing. It will therefore be premature to hand over the Toll Plaza that is still subject of Panel’s investigation and proceedings, to LCC.

“The Panel is yet to come to any finding in respect of the Lekki Toll Gate Incident of 20th October, 2020. A takeover of the Toll Plazas by LCC will be prejudicial to the ultimate findings of the Panel.

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“The Panel is yet to ascertain the claims and counter-claims of fatalities and massacre of citizens on 20th October, 2020. If indeed such is established eventually, taking over the Toll Plaza at this time upon, the blood of the innocent citizens will be insensitive, callous and totally uncharitable to the memories of those who may have died.

“The Panel commissioned a forensic expert to undertake a forensic examination of the Toll Plaza, to examine documents, videos and CCTV footages submitted to the panel and to submit a comprehensive report thereon.

“The Panel is yet to receive the full details of the forensic report.

“The LCC is not a party to any pending before the Panel, to enable it make a valid application before the Panel, to take over the Toll Plazas. LCC is only appearing before the Panel upon a Summons. The time for LCC to submit its
own petition before the Panel has already elapsed on 22nd December, 2020.

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“The final report of the Panel will lose credibility, if ever before it is submitted the subject matter of its investigation and proceedings, is already compromised.

“From the evidence tendered by LCC before the Panel, there is adequate security at the Toll Plazas presently, to the extent that all attempts made by hoodlums and thieves to steal thereat, have been frustrated by the security agencies. This cannot therefore justify the application to takeover the Toll Plazas.

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“A takeover of the Toll Plazas, at this time, is hasty, premature and will overreach the work and eventual recommendations of the Panel.”

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