Sunday, July 25, 2021

Again, Nigerian Army refuses to present officers at Lagos #EndSARS panel

Panel chairperson Doris Okuwobi said at a session: “We cannot force them to come. We will take on the petitions as if they are not present.

• February 27, 2021
Lagos State Judicial Panel
Lagos State Judicial Panel

The Nigerian Army has yet again turned down an invitation to present soldiers involved in the October 20, 2020 incident before the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry to answer questions on their involvement in the shooting of #EndSARS protesters.

The Army repeatedly failed to enter any representation at the panel’s ongoing sessions.

This comes a month after the panel held that it cannot force the army to appear before it to answer for its role in the October 20 shooting at Lekki Toll plaza.

Panel chairperson Doris Okuwobi said at a session: “We cannot force them to come. We will take on the petitions as if they are not present, I made that very clear in the ruling. We have tried our best, served the legal summons, served the Chief of Army Staff, beyond that, there is no more the panel can do.”

In January, the Lagos State Judicial Panel said fresh summons would be served on the Nigerian Army to ensure that some of its officers present their testimony on the Lekki toll gate incident.

Peoples Gazette reported that the Army pulled out of the Judicial Panel as further evidence showing soldiers opening fire on peaceful protesters last October surfaced.

S.N. Agwhe, a member of army counsel to the panel, revealed that the military disbanded its legal team for the panel.

The spokesman for 81 Division, Lagos, Mr. Olaniyi Osoba asked the Gazette to direct their inquiries to the army headquarters.

The army had been summoned before the judicial panel of inquiry after the incident, with petitioners alleging that soldiers opened fire on peaceful protesters, killing and injuring several protesters.

The Nigerian Army admitted being at the scene of the Lekki shootings after multiple initial denials. It denied opening fire on the protesters, saying that the soldiers deployed were on the scene to enforce the curfew placed by the Lagos State governor but didn’t open fire on peaceful protesters.

The attack on the peaceful protesters was carried out by officers identified to be of Nigerian Army 81 Division, Lagos.

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