#EndSARS: Falana, nine others sued over independent panel

A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), and nine others have been dragged before a Federal High Court in Abuja, over the set up of an independent panel to probe killings during the #EndSARS protests that rocked the country for three weeks in October last year.

The plaintiff, Barr Lucky Odigie, through his counsel, Oghenovo Otemu, prayed the court to restrain the defendants from setting up any parallel independent inquiry to probe any alleged killings of Nigerians, including security operatives and the destruction of properties following the deployment of security operatives in the wake of the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria.

Other defendants in the suit filed on December 31, 2020, are Ade Atambi, Adewale Adeoye, Chino Obiagwu (SAN), Affiong Affiong, and Prof Adenike Ogushe. Others are Mr Y.Z Yau, Mr Malachy Ugwumadu, Miss Fatima Umar and Mr Olumide Ogele.

In the originating summons, the plaintiff prayed the court to determine whether, by virtue of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act Cap 447 LFN 1990 and all other extant Federal and State laws, regulations and enactments in Nigeria, the 1st to 3rd Defendants, trading under the name and style of Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 And Beyond (ASCAB) can validly and legally constitute or set up a parallel independent panel of inquiry to probe the killings of Nigerians, including security operatives and the destruction of properties following the deployment of security operatives in the wake of the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria?

Whether by virtue of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act Cap 447 LFN 1990 and all other extant Federal and State laws, regulations and enactments in Nigeria the 4th to 10th Defendants can validly and legally act as members of a parallel independent panel of inquiry to probe the killings of Nigerians, including security operatives and the destruction of properties following the deployment of security operatives in the wake of the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria?

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He also prayed the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from conducting any parallel independent inquiry to probe any alleged killings of Nigerians, including security operatives and the destruction of properties following the deployment of security operatives in the wake of the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria.

The plaintiff prayed for a declaration that by virtue of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act Cap 447 LFN 1990 and all other extant Federal and State laws, regulations and enactments in Nigeria, the 1st to 3rd Defendants, trading under the name and style of Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 And Beyond (ASCAB) cannot validly and legally constitute or set up a parallel independent panel of inquiry to probe the killings of Nigerians, including security operatives and the destruction of properties following the deployment of security operatives in the wake of the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria.

In the affidavit in support of the originating summons, the plaintiff said the action of the defendants in setting up the panel of inquiry is targeted at undermining the different panels set up by the different state governors to probe the alleged police brutalities and human rights abuses by security agents.

He said the panel of the 4th to 10th defendants are targeted at turning up a report or decision that will embarrass and undermine the Federal Government of Nigeria, the different State Governments, the Nigeria Police, the Nigeria Army, all the security agencies as well as the existing panels of inquiries set up by the different state Governors.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.

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