Chairman of the Panel, Rtd Justice Doris Okuwobi, submitting a copy of the report to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on restitution for victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters has submitted a-two-volume report on its findings to the Lagos State Government.
Presenting the report to the Governor at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, the Chairman of the Panel, retired Justice Doris Okuwobi said part of their recommendations include the establishment of a body to take over human rights abuses in Lagos based on the fact that the panel could not hear over forty petitions submitted to it.
“As much as the panel desired to have taken all petitions, the one 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” she said.
Justice Okuwobi said the panel awarded a total of N410 million to 70 victims.
According to her, 235 petitions were received with only 14 of it being on the alleged Lekki shooting incident.
On October 19, 2020, the Lagos State government had inaugurated the nine-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate cases of brutality and human rights violations
perpetrated by the police and operatives of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The panel was also saddled with the investigation of the alleged shooting of protesters by the Nigerian Army on October 20, 2020, at the Lekki tollgate plaza.
In his remarks after receiving the reports, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu who pointed out that the panel had operated independently thanked the members for a job well done and also expressed appreciation to Lagosians for their cooperation.
Governor Sanwo-Olu immediately constituted a four man committee to raise a white paper on the report of the panel within two weeks.
“I am going to constitute afour man committee immediately, which will be headed by the Attorney-General, the Commissioner for Youths and Social Development, the Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure and the Permanent Secretary, the Cabinet office. The four of them will very quickly, 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 enquiry” he said
The Governor expressed hope that government’s decision on the report would bring healing, reconciliation and restitution.
“We will ensure that the recommendations that are coming out that will be turn into a white paper will be made available to the public, we will do it appropriately, so that history will judge us well and we’ll have a document that will stand the test of time, that’s what the tribunal law says, so that it will be properly documented and gazetted in government’s records” the Governor emphasised
Governor Sanwo-Olu stated that a copy of the report of the panel as submitted, would be forwarded to the National Executive Council, NEC meeting in Abuja this week.
Reporting by Omolara Omosanya, editing by Daniel Adejo