EndSARS: Youth representative on Lagos Panel, Rinu Oduala, withdraws membership

Rinu Oduala, one of the two youth representatives at the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Police brutality and human rights abuse has withdrawn her membership over the panel’s granting of approval to the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) to reopen the toll plaza.

The retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led Panel had on Saturday approved the reopening of the tollgate, a decision, Oduala and another youth representative, Temitope Majekodunmi criticised, saying the position of the panel did not reflect their views.

In a statement released on Friday, Oduala described the planned reopening as an act of injustice and a cover-up, which she said, she was not a party to.

She, however, frowned at the panel’s decision to reopen the plaza on the ground that the tolling company, Lekki Concession Company has not been cleared of all allegations of rights violations.

“My stand on the reopening on the toll gate remains clear; the Lagos State government and the private organization which operates the toll plaza have not been cleared of collusion with elements allegedly deployed by the federal government to target Nigerian citizens on home soil during a time of peace, without provocation,” she said.

“Justice has not been served, and as a representative of the Nigerian citizenry, my only recourse is to stay the course of justice. Let me be clear: I chose to honour the invitation to represent my peers and to stand as an example that any Nigerian has the right to demand accountability of elected government officials and that our institutions, however flawed, can still deliver justice.

“What I will not do is be part of a cover-up. I am proud that I took the invitation because some of the successes the panel has recorded so far have been incredibly powerful for the people.

“For the first time, SARS victims have had the opportunity to be truly seen and heard by the government, by the public, and by the system that allowed them to be victims in the first place.

“They got to expose the violence that was meted out, to experience some catharsis from having the government acknowledge its failures and, in many cases, are going to be receiving some compensation, however inadequate for the disruption to their lives,” she said.

“This is further than we have ever come as a nation, and while this same rigour was not applied to the case of the Lekki Toll shootings, we can at least celebrate the wins that our brothers and sisters can finally claim in their fight for justice, and recognise that our collective will is more powerful than any institution.

“However, partial wins are not enough for me. I decided to join this fight because I wanted the government to recognise its failures and work to overhaul its security institutions. I did not expect piecemeal acknowledgements and efforts to sabotage vital proceedings,” she said.

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