The 7 Key Points from Lagos White Paper on #EndSARS Panel Report can be accessed here
The White Paper on the Judicial Panel of Inquiry report set up to investigate the Lekki Toll Gate shooting on October 20, 2020, has elicited mixed opinions.
On October 20, 2020, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu launched a judicial panel led by Justice Doris Okuwobi to investigate petitions alleging police brutality in the state and alleged protester shootings.
The panel issued two reports on November 15, one on police brutality cases and the other on the probe into the Lekki incident.
Following the panel’s report’s submission, Sanwo-Olu formed a four-member team to draft a white paper on the panel’s recommendations.
The white-paper committee will be chaired by Lagos Attorney-General Moyosore Onigbanjo.
The State Government revealed in a 24-page document obtained exclusively by The Nation that it accepted eleven (11) of the 32 recommendations made by the Judicial Panel of Inquiry in its Report of November 15, 2021, rejected one (1), and accepted six (six) with modifications.
“Fourteen (14) proposals fall outside of Lagos State government’s powers and will be referred to the Federal Government for consideration,” it says.
The following are some of the most important points from the White Paper:
1. The Judicial Panel of Inquiry’s findings that nine (9) people died at LTG on October 20, 2020, as a result of military gunshots were based on “assumptions” and “speculations.”
2. The inconsistencies and contradictions in the entire Judicial Panel of Inquiry report regarding the number of people who died at the Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, as well as the cause of death, rendered the judicial panel’s findings and conclusions completely untrustworthy and thus unacceptable.
“The single victim of gunshot injuries from LTG was picked up at 7:43 pm on October 21, 2020, after the curfew began,” the government said (see page 99). Furthermore, there was no proof as to who fired the shot.”
3. In response to the panel’s recommendation that disciplinary action is taken against officers such as Col. S.O. Bello and Major-General Godwin Umelo who refused to comply with the panel’s summons to sabotage the investigation, the State Government stated in the White Paper that it would also forward the recommendation to the Federal Government, the NEC, and the Nigerian Army for consideration.
4. In response to the judicial panel’s recommendation that the Lekki Toll Plaza be renamed “EndSARS TOLLGATE” as a memorial site for the EndSARS protest, the Lagos State government said it would rather designate a park in the state and name it “Peace Park.”
5. In response to the panel’s recommendation that October 20 be designated as Toll-Free Day at the Lekki Tollgate for as long as the tollgate exists, the Lagos State government stated that it would accept the recommendation in the spirit of healing and reconciliation, but that it would not be able to declare the day as ‘ENDSARS DAY’ because the state lacks the authority to do so, but that the recommendation would be forwarded to the Federal Government.
6. In response to other recommendations, the Lagos government stated that it has no control over the Nigeria Police Force’s internal affairs and that the recommendation would be forwarded to the appropriate authorities, including the Nigerian federal government, the National Economic Council, the Police Service Commission, and the Nigeria Police Force.
7. The state government praised all medical personnel and hospitals for treating citizens injured during the protest. It claimed that it would continue to involve young people through dialogue and other programs such as the Youth/Police Dialogue and the Youth Peaceful Conflict Resolution Program. The state also stated that proper legislative action would be taken to establish a permanent human rights committee.
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