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We are taking note of reactions to #EndSARS panel report, says Lagos

By Seye Olumide (South-West Bureau Chief) and Silver Nwokoro (Lagos)
18 November 2021   |   3:07 am
The Lagos State government in its first reaction to the viral report of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters

Analysts commend panel

The Lagos State government in its first reaction to the viral report of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters, which leaked on Monday, said yesterday that it had noted the various reactions that have followed the submission of the report.

In a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, the state government said: “There have been arguments in the public space over the report. There is a need for us to restrain ourselves from nullifying the good intentions of the government in setting up this panel, which was well encouraged to do its job, a fact that was acknowledged by the panel. 
 
“In accordance with the Tribunal of Inquiry Law 2015, a committee has been set up to bring up a White Paper on the report to determine the next line of action. At the appropriate time, the government will make known its views on all the issues raised by the panel through the release of a White Paper.”
MEANWHILE, the Guild of Public Affairs Analysts of Nigeria (GPAAN) has commended the courage and objectivity, which the panel demonstrated in the report is submitted after its investigation.

In a statement yesterday, the spokesman of the Guild, Achike Chude, commended the panel for acknowledging a generally well-known and well-established truth on the massacre that did take place at Lekki Toll-Gate on October 20, 2020, when military and police personnel released live bullets on peaceful protesters.

It also commended the panel for establishing that a tri-partite web of intrigues and collaboration between the Federal Government, Lagos State government and Lekki Concession Company (LCC) led to the event that unfolded that very day.

It said that the panel also established a nexus between the event of October 20, 2020, and the unfortunate and condemnable destruction of public and private assets, just as it gave kudos to the Lagos State government for seemingly allowing the judicial panel to work without undue interference.

“The government is not free of some levels of indictment by the panel.

“All those involved in the sordid and criminal events of October 20, 2020, should be punished in accordance with the provisions of the law. This would include the army, police, government personnel as well as personnel of the Lekki Concession Company.

“Corporate sanctions, if possible, should also be considered. This should hopefully serve as a statement against impunity in our country,” the group stated.

It, therefore, urged adequate compensation for all victims of #EndSARS protests at the hands of state security operatives and that the Lekki Toll-Gate be designated a national monument in celebration of the heroism of the Nigerian youths, who in an unprecedented and patriotic manner stood up to be counted on behalf of their country.

It said the commercialisation of the Lekki Toll-Gate, which was the motivation for the massacre by the army and police be stopped permanently forthwith as a testimony to the fact that profit must never attract a higher premium than human life.

MEANWHILE, another group, Youth Right Campaign (YRC), has called for the immediate sack of the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, for lying about the shooting of #EndSARS protesters.

The YRC Co-ordinator, Michael Lenin and Secretary, Francis Nwapa, said under the climate of lies and propaganda forged by Mohammed and the state machinery backing him to bury the truth, journalists, activists like DJ Switch and bloggers were run aground, forced into exile or persecuted for insisting on the truth. Many left their homes and jobs never to return again for fear of retribution.

The group, however, commended members of the panel for a job well done in the face of state pressure to sweep the case under the carpet and the lawyers and activists who without tiring, continued to campaign for justice despite desperate efforts and measures to cover up the truth.

It demanded that those identified to have been responsible directly and remotely for the killings must be arrested and prosecuted.

The YRC also asked that all victims of the shooting be adequately compensated and all the #EndSARS protesters that are still in detention across the country be released and compensated for being illegally detained.

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