Monday, April 19, 2021

Nigerian Army pulls out of Lagos #EndSARS panel

The panel chairman warned that the army would not be able to claim denial of fair hearing when the panel submits its report.

• January 31, 2021
Lagos State Judicial Panel
Lagos State Judicial Panel

The Nigerian Army has pulled out of the Lagos State Judicial Panel as more evidence resurfaces confirming that Nigerian soldiers opened fire on peaceful protesters last October.

Making the development known to the Judicial Panel on Saturday, S.N. Agwhe, a member of army counsel to the panel, revealed that the military disbanded its legal team for the panel.

Mr. Agwhe, who appeared before the panel on behalf of the army legal team, revealed that the job of the army counsel finished on November 21.

“We do not have any further mandate to represent the army in any subsequent proceedings,” Mr. Agwhe told the panel.

He reminded the panel that Akinlolu Kehinde, head of the army legal team, had earlier submitted a memo notifying the panel of the decision.

The last hearing on January 23 was the third time in a row that the army and its counsel failed to appear before the panel.

However, the panel chairman Dorris Okuwobi, a retired judge, warned that the army would not be able to claim denial of fair hearing when the panel submits its findings to the government.

This development comes after Reddington Hospital testified to treating victims from the #EndSARS protest with bullet wounds on October 20, 21 and 22.

The army was summoned before the judicial panel of inquiry after petitioners alleged that soldiers opened fire at peaceful protesters, killing and injuring several protesters.

The Nigerian Army reluctantly admitted being at the scene of the Lekki shootings after initial denials. still, it denied opening fire on the protesters who were sitting on the floor, singing the national anthem and waving the Nigerian flag.

In its defence, the army claimed that soldiers were sent out to enforce curfew 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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