#EndSARS: Lagos constitutes seven-man judicial panel on abuses
• Warned against new wave of COVID-19 pandemic
Lagos State government, on Thursday, constituted a Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses in the state.
The state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, disclosed this while briefing newsmen at Lagos House, Marina, Lagos, saying the seven-man panel, which has six months in the first instance for the job, will be chaired by retired Justice Doris Okuwobi.
The governor said other members are: Mr Ebun Adegboruwa (SAN) (representing the Civil Society); Rtd. DIG Taiwo Lakanu (a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police; Ms Patience Udoh (representing the Civil Society); Mr Segun Awosanya (Human Rights Activist); Mrs Olutoyin Odusanya (Director, Citizens Mediation Center); as well as a rep/member of the youth-led protest and a representative of the Human Rights Commission.
Governor Sanwo-Olu said the panel will look at all verifiable cases of SARS brutality and fatality and ensure that offending SARS officers were punished while victims or their families were duly compensated.
He said this was in keeping with the directives of the National Economic Council (NEC) Sub Committee Meeting which had mandated all governors to take decisive steps locally to implement the five demands of the #EndSARS protesters.
The governor recalled that the state government had already set up a N200million compensation fund to be utilised by the committee to take care of compensations.
According to him, the government has also set up a call centre for the panel where it can be reached for any complaints and report on these phone numbers: 0901 051 3203; 3204 and 3205 from next week.
Sanwo-Olu again assured the youths that the state government felt their pain and share their clamour for far-reaching police reform, and police that serves and protects the people of Lagos and Nigeria, and not one that intimidates and oppress them, noting that Nigeria’s development aspirations would not be achieved without responsive and ethical police.
“We feel your pain and share your clamour for far-reaching police reforms, for a Police that serves and protects the people of Lagos and Nigeria, not one that intimidates and oppresses them. Nigeria’s development aspirations will not be achieved without a responsive and ethical Police,” he said.
The governor further assured the protesters that the state government had met three out of their five demands and that the remaining two which required process would be taken care of, even as he declared that all those arrested had been released, urging that anyone who knew anyone still in police custody should notify the government.
“If you know of anyone still in police custody, please bring same to my notice,” the governor said.
“I am also pleased to confirm you that all the other demands have been addressed by the president who has given the IG of police the go-ahead to implement all the demands,” he further said.
Speaking further, Governor Sanwo-Olu disclosed that all four erring police officers, including Inspector Bagou Michael; Inspector, Ekpoudom Etop; Sgt Nnamdi Majura and Sgt. Akinyemi Benson had been apprehended and were currently facing an orderly room trial which was been monitored closely.
Sanwo-Olu appealed to the protesters to sheath their swords, and “give us a chance,” to enable the Federal and state governments to consolidate on these actions being promptly taken to address your concerns.”
“Let me now directly address all protesters who have taken their message to the street to agitate for change and reform of the police. It is now time to ask you all, to acknowledge the progress being made and to respond in good faith.
‘We now have no choice but to take every necessary step to restore law and order and to minimise the disruptions being experienced by all law-abiding residents of Lagos State,” the governor said.
The governor, while making the appeal, disclosed that the state had started witnessing a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, warning that it was a wake-up call to “jolt us out of complacency.”
The governor recalled that the state and the country at large had in the last six months made tremendous progress in the fight against COVID-19, warning against reversing it through what he termed carelessness or
“In the last six months we have made tremendous progress in the fight against COVID-19; do not let us, through carelessness or nonchalance, reverse this progress,” he warned.
He, therefore, enjoined everybody to take responsibility to avoid a second wave of COVID-19 as was being experienced already in some countries.