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Lagos #EndSARS Panel: No petition yet against us: Army

The panel had invited the Nigerian Army to give evidence on the October 20 incident.

• November 14, 2020
#EndSARS protest used to illustrate the story
#EndSARS protest used to illustrate the story

The Nigerian Army on Saturday said that they have not received any formal petition over their alleged shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20.

The counsel for the Nigerian Army, Akinlolu Kehinde (SAN), made the assertion on Saturday before the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters.

The panel had invited army general Ahmed Taiwo to give evidence on behalf of the Nigerian Army on the events of October 20 but Mr. Kehinde stated why the testimony could not be given.

“I must submit today that there is no allegation whatsoever against the Nigerian Army before this panel,” the lawyer said. “I repeat, as at six minutes to 11am today, no petition has been served against the Nigerian Army, if any petition has been served, we will respond,” he said.

Earlier, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN) the counsel representing seven #EndSARS protesters said that he had been unable to make a formal claim on behalf of his clients before the panel because the panel’s Terms of Reference only covered matters relating to the Nigerian Police and the disbanded SARS and that his complaint is against the Nigerian Army.

He also noted that the panel must be set up by a legal instrument and apart from the tweets from the Lagos State Governor Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu stating that a panel will be established.

“We applied for the copy of the instrument establishing the panel by the governor, but we were refused on the ground that freedom of information Act does not apply to Lagos State.

“We applied here this morning and the secretary said there is no authority that states that it should be granted to us,” Mr. Olumide-Fusika said.

He sought the panel’s directive as to whether the Nigerian Army should give evidence during proceedings because according to him, “their presence here today is not mature”.

Meanwhile, the head of the nine-man panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi in a ruling stated that the alleged shootings at Lekki covered the panel’s Terms of Reference.

“The Lekki incident was not covered by the original instrument of the panel and it was amended on October 21 to include the Lekki incident.

“The amended instrument is a public document which should not be shrouded in mystery, I have a copy here with me if Mr Olumide-Fusika pleases,” Ms. Okuwobi said.

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