Members of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for Restitution for victims of #EndSARS-related abuses with Governor babajide sanwo-Olu (5th from left)
Already, the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for Restitution for victims of #EndSARS-related abuses as well as the Tuesday October 20 Lekki Tollgate military shootings and killings has received 15 petitions from victims of abuses in its first week constitution.
In a related development, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has issued a note of warning to law-abiding citizens especially parents, community leaders and traders to reject all items suspected to have been looted or stolen by hoodlums who wreaked havoc during the #ENDSARS protests.
Justice Doris Okuwobi (rtd), the Chairperson of the new panel disclosed this while speaking with journalists yesterday. Okuwobi urged other victims of SARS abuse to come forward with their petitions. She said that the panel is independent of the government and will ensure that individuals with valid complaints of human rights violations will receive justice.
She said, “If their cases are disposed of in a month or two, compensation if recommended would go to the victims immediately to assuage their pain. We are looking forward to memoranda from those affected by the unfortunate incident of the shooting at the Lekki Tollgate plaza by the military. Okuwobi said the panel will formally start sitting on Tuesday (today). We are indeed ready to commence the public sitting. The petitions are here without the petitioners around, the panel will start full proceedings tomorrow, October 27.
According to her, the panel will work with the civil society to assist them with credible evidence of the killings at the Lekki Tollgate Plaza. This is to ensure that there will be good evidence to assist the panel make appropriate recommendations in respect of all terms of reference of the panel,” she said.
Justice Okuwobi said the panel could not begin proceedings immediately because the nominations for the two youth representatives who are to sit as part of the eight-man panel was sent in late. She noted that the two nominated youth representatives had not yet been sworn-in and could not join the panel for Monday’s proceedings. “The panel will most definitely sit tomorrow because they would have been sworn-in and the composition will be complete,” she said.
The president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Olumide Akpata who was present at the proceedings said that the NBA will be partnering the judicial panel and will also provide pro bono services to affected victims.
He said, “The NBA is here to help victims of the now disbanded SARS and other human rights violations to properly articulate their petitions to this panel pro bono. This will be done in Lagos and around the country. The NBA will participate in observatory capacity to ensure that all goes well and ensure that justice is actually served. Our best hands will be available throughout the sittings of the panel. We look forward to justice being done and the recommendations of the panel for those who have been badly treated by institutions that have been set up to protect them,” Akpata said.
The panel is made up of the Chairman, Okuwobi; Mr Ebun Adegboruwa (SAN) and Mr. Taiwo Lakanu, a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police and a founding member of SARS. Other panelists are: Mrs Oluwatoyin Odusanya, Director, Lagos State Directorate of Citizen’s Rights and Ms Patience Udoh, a representative of the civil society groups and Mr. Segun Awosanya (segalink) a human rights activist.