Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Lagos #EndSARS panel to serve fresh summons on army

An army spokesman declined comments on the reported disbandment of its legal representation at the panel.

• February 1, 2021
Lagos State Judicial Panel
Lagos State Judicial Panel

The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality and Lekki shooting says 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 earlier reported that the army pulled out representation from the panel on Saturday, January 30, as more evidence showed that several fatalities were recorded on account of the soldiers’ presence at the toll gate.

A specialist from Reddington Hospital had attested that the hospital witnessed an overflow of casualties and treated victims from the protest ground who had bullet wounds on October 20, 21 and 22.

The panel, in a statement shared on its Twitter page on Monday, said that “the Chairperson (of the panel) ordered that fresh Summons be served directly on the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) inviting the remaining Army Officers that have not testified to appear on 27/2/21 to testify.”

Asked to confirm the army’s withdrawal from the panel, in a phone call with Peoples Gazette, the spokesman for 81 Division, Lagos, Mr. Olaniyi Osoba said “whatever inquiry you have concerning the army’s disposition on the matter must be directed to the army headquarters.”

There have been claims and counterclaims since the army besieged the venue of the peaceful protest on the night of October 20 where marchers were waving Nigerian flags and singing the national anthem.

The army initially denied their presence at the tollgate but later admitted being there, claiming only blank bullets were fired to enforce a state government curfew.

The army however have not been able to convincingly explain why it opened fire to disperse the demonstrators about three hours before the curfew began.

Observers say the army’s withdrawal from the panel could translate to its unreadiness to clean on its involvement in the massacre.

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