By Olasunkanmi Akoni

The Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution on Lekki Toll Gate shooting Incident and cases of Police brutality as well as human rights violations, Monday presented it’s report to the Lagos State Governor, Bababjide Sanwo-Olu for further action.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, received the report from the panel at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja.

The panel was led by Doris Okuwobi, a retired judge.

Other members include: Ebun Adegboruwa,  Patience Udoh, both representing the Civil Society, Taiwo Lakanu, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Segun Awosanya, human rights activist, Olutoyin Odusanya, Director, Lagos Citizens Mediation Center, and Temitope Majekodunmi, a youth representative.

Recall on October 19, 2020, the Lagos state government, led by Governor Sanwo-Olu,  set up a nine-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate cases of brutality and human rights violations perpetrated by operatives of the Nigerian Police Force and the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.

The panel was set up as a response to one of the demands of youth during the #EndSARS protests, which is investigating cases of police brutality and providing restitution to the victims.

While inaugurating the panel, Sanwo-Olu, said it was “in line with the resolution of the National Economic Council on October 15, 2020, chaired by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.”

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The governor added that the panel was set up based on Section 5 of Tribunals of Inquiry Law of Lagos State (2015) which gives the panel the powers to procure evidence and summon any person to attend its proceedings to give evidence.

The state government, however, extended the locus of the Judicial Panel on October 21 to include the investigation of the October 20, 2020, Lekki Toll shooting incident.

A N200 million fund was approved by the state government as compensation for victims as part of it’s responsibilities  of providing restitution to the victims of police abuses in the state,

The panel had six months duration to accomplish its tasks, from October 2020 till April 2021 which was later reviewed.

The judicial panel commenced sitting on October 26, 2020, but heard its first case on October 27, with over 100 cases heard by the panel as of April.

A total number of 235 petitions were received by the panel between October and December 2020. Out of this number, about 112 cases were brought up before the panel.

The cases included cases those already  struck out, and those undergoing hearing, as well as those with judgments.

Out of the 112 cases brought before the panel, 10 were struck out for want of diligent prosecution while four cases were withdrawn by the petitioners. Numerous cases were also brought up before the panel.

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