November 23, 2021

Endsars panel report: ‘I was attacked, cut like a thief’ — WITNESS

EndSARS Lagos panel

*Adegboruwa, SAN, another witness allege threat to life

*Lawyers, PDP, APC, CSOs react, as  LASG keeps mum on attacks

*Human rights violators‘ll be dealt with on both sides — Presidency

By Dapo Akinrefon, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Ebunoluwa Sessou, Henry Ojelu, Onozure Dania & Juliet Umeh

A witness at the just-concluded Lagos EndSARS panel, Kamsiyochukwu Ibe yesterday gave a horrific account of how three hoodlums inflicted deep cutlass cuts on her at the Sangotedo, Lekki area of Lagos on Sunday night.

Miss Ibe’s account came just as a member of the panel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN and another witness, Dabira Adeyinka, alleged threats to their lives by unknown persons.

The Lagos EndSARS panel report, which indicted the Army, Police, Lekki Concession Company, LCC and other actors, has been generating reactions since last week, with many civil society organization and international human rights bodies calling for implementation of the panel’s recommendations.

How I was attacked, by Kamsi Ibe

Narrating her ordeal to Vanguard yesterday, Kamsi as she is fondly called, said: “As I am speaking to you now, I am very weak. I am just returning from the hospital where I had gone to threat myself.

“What they did to me is terrible just because I testified at the #EndSARS panel. I can’t talk much now because I am very weak and tired.”

Vanguard later obtained a video clip which Kamsi had made, narrating how the hoodlums attacked her. In the video where she was writhing in pains and displaying the deep cuts on her body, she said: “This is me Kamsi. Last night, I was attacked by three guys whom I thought were passers-by. I was standing at the bus stop waiting for a vehicle, only for one of them to point a torchlight at my face, before pouncing on me with dangerous objects. They said my crime was because I testified before the panel.

“They said if they kill me, there would be no way for me to continue agitating for justice. I told them that I don’t know what they were talking about. They started hitting me. See all my body, back, leg, hand badly injured. They cut me like I am a thief. I survived by the grace of God.  I almost died at that bus stop.”

Kamsi’s helper, Dabira, gets threatened

Hours after Kamsi posted the video, one of her friends, Dabira Adeyinka  who had assisted to rush her to an undisclosed hospital posted another video alleging threats to her life by unknown persons who dropped a message: “You’re next,” on her car.

Dabira, who also testified before the Lagos #EndSARS panel, told Vanguard that when Kamsi reached out to her, she and other survivors of Lekki shootings rushed to the island to take her to the hospital.

She said: “Kamsi was butchered. Her bones were showing. As soon as the doctor finished with her, we came outside. One of us saw an envelope on the car. When we opened it, we saw a paper with my image without the head.

“Then they wrote: “You’re next. Game on!” It was an image of me at the Lagos panel, when I went to give my testimony. Right now, we’re trying to stay safe. I have only spoken with my lawyer.”

Asked if she had reported the matter to the Police, she said no.

“Which policeman will smile at me? I don’t trust them. Meanwhile, all we are asking for is for the government to care for the people. That’s all,” she added.

Hold govt responsible if anything happens to me — Adegboruwa

Responding to the aftermath of the attack on Kamsi, Adegboruwa stated that he had also been threatened and asked Nigerians to hold government responsible if anything happened to him.

He said: “Since the submission of the report of the Lagos #EndSARS Panel, there have been lots of threats and attacks, by those suspected to be agents of the government, upon me, especially in the media.

“I have not committed any crime beyond joining other eminent Nigerians with unblemished integrity, to accept the nomination of government on behalf of my constituency, the Nigerian Bar Association and the civil society and indeed the masses of our people, for a national assignment.

“Two prominent lawyers of the government have openly incited opinions against me on national television, with mindless accusations. I have however refused to be intimidated or bend to the tactics of government to be silenced.

“I urge the good people of Nigeria, my professional colleagues in the Nigerian Bar Association, my comrades in the civil rights movement and the people of Nigeria, to hold government responsible should anything happen to me.

“Just last night, one of the prominent EndSARS protesters who testified before the panel, Miss Kamsiyochukwu Ibe, was attacked and dealt serious machete blows, in what was clearly an attempted murder, as reported by her counsel, with very disturbing photos.

“I heeded the clarion call to serve by the government with the honest belief that the panel was meant to say the truth and nothing but the truth, which is what we have done. It is left for government and Nigerians to do the needful with the report of the panel.”

LASG keeps mum

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has declined comments on the attack on Kamsi and threats to life on Adegboruwa and Dabiri.

When contacted, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, declined comment.

Govt should protect people at risk of ‘leaked’ report — Owonikoko, LASG lawyer

Reacting to the development, counsel to Lagos State Government, Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, suggested that government should provide special security to everyone who might be potentially vulnerable to risk due to the leakage of the Lagos EndSARS panel report.

In a chat with Vanguard yesterday, Owonikoko denied knowledge of any attack on Miss Ibe and alleged threats to Adegboruwa but noted that such action must be condemned if true.

READ ALSO: #ENDSARS: Adamawa panel submits report to Fintiri

He said: “I am not aware of any such thing sir. However if it’s true, I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. I, however, find it curious that it’s people who have passionate sympathy for the victims that are being reported to be threatened. 

“Government must do all within its powers to provide special security cover and protection for everyone who might be potentially vulnerable to risk of the fallout of the leakage of the panel report from all sides.

“People must be advised to stop social media aggravation of matters. Abuse of that platform contributed in no little measure to the original crisis. We should all learn some lessons from it and avoid inflaming the polity.”

Lawyers react: Brutal attack, threats worrisome — Pedro, SAN

Reacting to the attacks, former Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mr Lawal Pedro, SAN, described the brutal attack on Miss Ibe and the allegation of threat to life by Adegboruwa, SAN, as worrisome.

He said: “I just cannot but wonder what is happening in this country. Attack on a protester or threat to a member of the panel is unacceptable and these unlawful acts should be investigated and culprits punished in accordance with the law.

“I am going to appeal to all and sundry to allow the state government come up with the White Paper on the report. Therefore, it is premature at this moment for anybody to act on the panel’s report without a White Paper released on it. We should be patient and allow due process to take its course.”

Attack, threats unpardonable— Ubani

In his reaction, Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law, NBA-SPIDEL, Dr. Monday Ubani,  said the attack and threats to life was unpardonable act.

He said: “It is clearly wrong and unpardonable for anybody to attack or threaten any person for holding a view different from that of the state government on the issue of #EndSARS panel report.

“What is the grouse of those who are attacking or threatening any person? They expected the report to be in favour of the state government? Sorry, the report corroborates what people saw and witnessed on October 2020.

“Those souls who died during that incident are still crying, invoking vengeance on any person who still believes that no soul was lost or death recorded on that day

“Adegboruwa does not deserve any threat or castigation unless the government is saying he alone wrote and signed the report. The report is a unanimous report and truly reflected the happenings at Lekki Tollgate last year.

“If the supporters of the government think they can use intimidation and threat to distract the state government from implementing the recommendations of the Panel, I wish them good luck.

‘’However, on no account should anyone who takes up state or national assignment be threatened or attacked by anybody. It is immoral and unpardonable.”

Adegboruwa, witnesses must be protected — Lagos PDP

In its reaction, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos State expressed worry over the threat to Adegboruwa’s life and the attack on the #EndSARS protester uring the state government to protect the victims.

A member of the caretaker committee of the party, Abiodun Lawal, said: “The PDP condemns in totality the attempts to endanger the life of Ebun Adebgoruwa and those who testified against the Lagos State government during the Panel sittings. We ask the Nigerian Police and Lagos State government to quickly provide maximum security to the aforementioned people.”

Similarly, the Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Taofik Gani said: “We call on the state to guarantee their safety. All residents of Lagos must have confidence in the ability of the state to provide safety.

“It does not matter whether these threats can be truly linked to #ENDSARS on not. The law enforcement agencies must rise to the challenge and ensure that lives and property of all are guaranteed. Indeed, this is the main expectation of a responsible government.

“This is as we also call for the expeditious release of the white paper to lay to rest all issues surrounding this report.”

We’re awaiting govt White Paper—Lagos APC

On his part, the Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos, Mr. Seye Oladejo, said: “As a party, we do not want to pre-empt as well as prejudice the outcome of the White Paper by the state government.

“Until then, there is no comment from us for now. We are waiting for the White Paper before we can make any further comments.

“On the alleged threat to life by Adegboruwa, we want to urge him to take the appropriate step. As a SAN, he knows what to do in this circumstance.

“We don’t want to join any issue on this. If his life is threatened, we (APC) believe he knows what  to do as a senior lawyer.”

Coalition demands release of 300 detained protesters

Meanwhile, a coalition of Civil Society Organsiations, CSOs, yesterday demanded the release of over 300 #EndSARS protesters still being detained in various detention facilities across the country.

The CSOs that made the demand at a briefing in Lagos yesterday include New Nigeria Network, Coalition for Revolution, Take it Back Movement and Radical Agenda Movement in the Nigerian Bar Association.

The coalition noted that over 300 protesters who were arrested during the October 20,202 #EndSARS protests across the country were still being detained at various detention centres.

Human rights violators’ll be dealt with on both sides — Presidency

Responding to a question on what government was doing internally to empower people to resist human rights abuses, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the Federal Government would take from panel reports areas that pertained to its responsibility and deal with them.

Adesina, who spoke on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, yesterday, said:  “Even in those countries where human rights violators have been punished, have they stopped? No, they keep happening and that’s why I tell you it’s a human problem.

“Nigeria is waiting for this probe panel’s report, what the governments; both at federal and state do with that report will go a long way to answer the question.

“When the issues are tackled, defaulters are dealt with on both sides, not just security agencies. You ask yourself, 38 policemen were also killed. Who killed them? So all these things are to be dealt with.”

Vanguard News NIGERIA