Sanwo-Olu sets up 4-member committee for a white paper report on EndSARS as reports allege Panel says killing can be equated to a massacre

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Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lags State has set up a four-member committee for White Paper on the reports submitted by the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for victims of SARS related abuses and other matters.

This is coming as various reports alleged that the Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel, in its report equated the killing of unarmed protesters at Lekki toll gate on the night of October 20, 2020, to a ‘massacre’ in context.

The Panel, in its report, titled, ‘Report Of Lekki Incident Investigation Of 20th October 2020’, released by a civil advocacy group, Enough is Enough Nigeria,  said at least 48 protesters were either shot dead, injured with bullets wounds or assaulted by soldiers who stormed the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020.

The two reports submitted by the Panel to Lagos State Government are on the investigations on petitions on several cases of abuse and killings by the Nigerian Police, especially the disbanded  Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the Oct. 20, 2020, Lekki Toll Gate shootings during the #EndSARS protests hijacked by hoodlums.

The committee, set up by Sanwo-Olu after receiving the two reports of the Panel, is led by Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN).

Other members of the committee are; Commissioner for Youths and Social Development, Mr Segun Dawodu, Special Adviser, Works and Infrastructure, Mrs Aramide Adeyoye and Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office, Mrs Tolani Oshodi.

Sanwo-Olu said that the committee would bring forward a white paper within the next two weeks to be considered by the Lagos State Executive Council.

He said the reports and recommendations will be made public and submitted to the National Economic Council for discussion.

He reassured Nigerians, especially residents of Lagos that the government’s action would be guided by the law and in the public interest.

Sanwo-Olu said that he was hopeful the Lagos State Government’s decision on the reports would bring complete healing, reconciliation and restitution.

”The four of them will immediately look through and bring forward a white paper within the next two weeks that will be considered at the Lagos State Executive Council and would be gazetted as a white paper coming from the Panel of Inquiry.

”We will ensure that the recommendations that are coming out will be turned into a white paper and made available to the public.

”We will do it appropriately so that history will judge us well and we will have a document that will stand the test of time.

”That is what the tribunal law says so that it will be properly documented and gazetted in government’s records,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu who pointed out that the panel had operated independently, commended members of the Justice Okuwobi-led panel for a job well done.

He also expressed appreciation to residents for their cooperation during the exercise, which lasted for almost a year.

Ar the event, Justice Okuwobi, expressed deep appreciation to the Lagos State Government and all stakeholders who appeared before the panel.

She also thanked members of the panel for their uncommon resolve to bring closure to the assignment and their good team work.

Okuwobi said that part of the recommendations of the panel was the establishment of a body to take over human rights abuses in Lagos.

She disclosed that the panel awarded a total of N410 million to 70 victims of Police brutality, and 235 petitions were received, with only 14 of it being on the alleged Lekki shooting incident.

”As much as the panel desired to have taken all petitions, the ones that were not taken by the panel were those that did not comply to our rules, so in this report, we made recommendations for a body to take over human rights abuse cases in Lagos State,” Okuwobi said.

However, in the leaked copy of the panel report, Page 294 of the309-page report partly read, “The atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless and unresisting protesters, while sitting on the floor and waving their Nigerian flags, while singing the National Anthem can be equated to a ‘massacre’ in context.”

Also, page 295 of the report said, “It was alleged and corroborated that the soldiers had their vans parked at the Lekki Toll Gate and removed as many bodies and corpses of the fallen protesters which they took away with their vans.”

In its recommendations, the panel emphasised that all those involved in the attack on youths should be made to face disciplinary measures.

It also stated, “The Panel recommends that the Lekki Toll Plaza be made a memorial site for ENDSARS Protest: By renaming to ‘ENDSARS TOLLGATE’.

“The panel recommends that October 20th of every year, the day is made a ‘Toll-Free Day’ at the Lekki Toll Gate as long as the tollgate exists

“That Oct 20th of every year be made EndSARS day Nationally for the remembrance of our falling youth.

“That for the purpose of restitution, healing and reconciliation, the Federal Government needs to publicly apologize to the youth for abruptly undermining the protest with their state actors.

“The Government should do all it can to bridge the gap of distrust with the Youth.

editor

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