Lagos #EndSARS Panel Ends Sitting, Awards N128.2m to 24 petitioners

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Wale Igbintade

The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality and human rights abuses by the Police and its disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has concluded its sitting.

However, the chairperson of the Panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi said the much-awaited report of the Panel ‘is being prepared’.

She said the investigation of the incident, including taking of evidence and exhibits, had been completed.

However, the Panel awarded N128.2m as compensation to 24 petitioners on Monday.

“The judicial panel has awarded N128.2 million as compensations to 24 petitioners who were victims of police brutality, as well as families of people killed by the Nigeria Police, especially Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

“Based on the merit in the petitions of the 28 petitioners, they were awarded N10 million, N5 million, N2.5 million, N1 million, N700,000 and N500,000 respectively, based on the strength of their petitions,” she said.

According to her, the panel will submit its findings and recommendations on Lekki shootings and Nigerian police related abuses of the citizens to the Lagos State Government.

“In line with the laws setting up the judicial panel, the government will make its findings and recommendations available to members of the public.

“The two reports to be submitted by the panel to Lagos State Government are on investigation on the October 20, 2020 Lekki Toll Gate shootings during the #EndSARS protests hijacked by hoodlums and petitions on several abuses and killings by the Nigerian police, especially the disbanded SARS.”

Justice Okuwobi explained that the panel received a total of 255 petitions from members of the public, noting that 52 of these cases were not treated.

“The judicial panel, which started its sittings in October 2020, received 255 petitions from members of the public, out of which 252 were considered for hearing, and the panel during its sittings was able to decide on 182 petitions while 52 were not treated due to time factors.

“The 52 petitions that were not treated will be included in the panel reports for necessary advice and actions to be taken by the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Justice,” she said.

Commenting, the Lead Counsel to the Lagos State Government, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), said: “The judicial panel has healed the wounds of many victims of police brutality and killings through the compensations awarded by the Justice Okuwobi-led panel. Apart from the compensations, the judicial panel through its ruling has also exonerated some victims from wrong doings and defamation of character, and this is even bigger than the monetary compensations.”