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Adegboruwa tasks police, military on rights protection

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Urges suspension of protests at Lekki tollgate

Human rights lawyer and member, Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality and Lekki Shootings, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has appealed to all security agencies to demonstrate utmost respect for the fundamental rights of all citizens.

The lawyer, who made the call following the rumours that the #EndSARS protesters are planning to resume protest at the tollgate, also urged the “protesters, counter-protesters and non-protesters alike” to embrace caution and suspend the plan.

He said: “It is reported in the news media that there are calls for protest and counter-protest at the Lekki tollgate, slated for Saturday, February 13, 2021.

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“The 1999 Constitution in Section 39 has granted to every person the right to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions, and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.

“Nevertheless, I will like to plead most passionately that the protest and counter-protest be shelved, at least for now.”

He argued that since the judicial panel of inquiry is still sitting and yet to make any finding or recommendations on the Lekki tollgate incident of October 20, 2020, except for the majority and dissenting decisions of February 6, 2021, which are all interlocutory, there is no basis to resume protest.

According to him, the alleged bloodshed, mayhem, repressions and violence of October 20, 2020 in general, should not be encouraged to repeat, adding that it will be good to await the decisions of the panel.

“A protest or counter-protest at this time may work to jeopardise the overall work of the panel, the witnesses appearing or to appear, the testimonies, the investigations or even affect its ultimate assignment.

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“I am concerned about the consequences of protests and counter-protests, at the same location, in relation to security and likely violation of COVID-19 protocols, given the rising wave of the pandemic, in Lagos State especially, where most economic, social, educational and other activities, are partially grounded, presently.

“The points made for and against interlocutory decisions of the panel have been noted and they will be collated for necessary action, in consideration of the final report of the panel,” he said.

He said that it would be safer for now for the Lagos State Government and its agencies, the EndSARS group and indeed all those concerned with the Lekki tollgate incident, to await the final report of the panel.

Adegboruwa, therefore, urged suspension of the planned protest and counter-protest slated for Saturday or any other day until the final report of the panel is out.

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