On LASG white papers on Endsars panel reports – Part 3
Continued from yesterday
Nicholas Okpe, Ukala Patrick Ayide, Joshua Samuel and Nathaniel Solomon jointly presented a Petition on the shooting and killing of the late Abuta Solomon at the LTG.
The Petition was heard by the Panel and it reached a decision declaring the Petition as successful and awarded the sum of N25M as compensation to the family of the deceased.
Compensation was awarded for this case because a separate Petition was presented on behalf of the deceased and the Panel conducted a full hearing on it and so it had to render a decision on the Petition. The family physically appeared before the Panel.
Nathaniel Solomon was erroneously listed as No.46 on the table by the Secretariat of the Panel, which error should have been corrected by the LASG as the Secretariat was at all times domiciled in the Ministry of Justice. The mere listing of Nathaniel Solomon on the table does not itself nullify the fact of the death of his brother, Abuta Solomon, which the Panel confirmed.
The Chairperson, all Panel members and indeed the Secretariat of the Panel were all within the reach of the LASG for clarifications if there was sincerity, other than picking holes in order to evade responsibility on account of computer errors and tabular alignments of cut and paste.
Award to Serah Ibrahim and other Endsars protesters
The EndSARS protest was a movement, a collective of various interest groups pursuing a common agenda termed EndSARS. This much was confirmed by the LASG through its witness before the Panel, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola who stated thus on 22nd June 2021 when he testified before the Panel:
“I want to start my presentation with an introduction of what the EndSARS protest meant to us at the time. It represented a decentralized social movement asking for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) which had gained notoriety for series of brutalities and abuses.”
The Panel took the cases of EndSARS protesters in a representative capacity, including the named and unnamed representatives of the movement also recognized as such by the LASG. But for the EndSARS protesters, the work of the Panel would have been extremely difficult, in respect of the LTG. The Panel considered the trauma of the EndSARS protesters, some of who were sand witched between dead bodies and could have been hit by the bullets, the quality of their testimonies and the materials tendered. Serah Ibrahim tendered live bullets and about 300 videos as evidence before the Panel. The Panel also awarded compensation to other EndSARS protesters like Dabira Ayuku, Kamsiyochukwu Ibe, Onileowo Legend, etc.
20TH October as Endsars memorial
The Panel recommended in its Report that 20th October of every year should be a day of memorial. LASG accepted this recommendation “… in the spirit of healing and reconciliation.” This same spirit should be extended to all victims of the LTG Incident and payment of compensation made to them as recommended by the Panel.
Payment to hospitals for treatment of gunshot wounds
Based upon the evidence before it, the Panel recommended to the LASG that all hospitals involved in the treatment of victims of gunshot wounds arising from the LTG should be paid the cost of such treatments. In its comment in WP2, LASG stated that: “Lagos State Government had paid all the Hospitals.” This is a clear admission of liability since the government cannot pay for treatment of gunshot wounds and still deny that there were gunshots at the LTG. Government is urged to pay all other victims their compensation.
The Panel reiterates its gratitude to the government and people of Lagos State for the opportunity given to serve and hopes that with these clarifications, the government will commence the process of genuine healing and reconciliation which it started through the payment of compensation to deserving victims through the Panel.
Adegboruwa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was a member of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses (Panel).