“Nigeria is not a country of justice. Nigeria is a country where the rule of law is observed in the breach by those who are meant to protect the rule of law.” was Public affairs analyst, Liborous Oshoma’s response when asked what would be the outcome of the Lagos state judicial panel set up to investigate the killings of #Endsars protesters at the Lekki toll gate in October 2020.
Months ago, following the chaos and violence that erupted from the #EndSARS protests, judicial panels were set up across the 36 Nigerian states as part of the demands to signify that the federal government was committed to the eradication of police brutality.
Over 2,500 petitions have been received by the various panels. The panel that everyone has kept an eye on is the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS related abuses and other matters.
The panel has now approved returning control of the Lekki Toll Gate plaza to its owners, the Lekki Concession Company, LCC. who had appealed to the panel to allow it to take over the plaza for repair and insurance claims but this was declined by the panel since investigations into incidents l leading to the closure were still being investigated.
On Saturday, February 6, the chairperson of the panel, Justice Doris Okwuobi, granted the request of LCC and handed the toll plaza to them. The youth representatives, as well as one of the lawyers on the panel, voted against the handing over.
On Breakfast Central, Liborous had a chat with Olisa Chukwumah and Tolulope Adeleru- Balogun on his thoughts about the panel’s decison.
He agreed with the fact that the state government does not have the power to set up the panel, explaining that according to the Lagos state power of inquiry laws it gives powers to set up inquiries for chieftaincy, Local government affairs, and areas where the governor has powers to legislate on.
The Federal Government should rather have collaborated with the national human rights commission because they are the ones who have the right to look into these issues.
This could have being avoided; explanations should have been given on reasons for the sudden change because people believed from the beginning that the government was not entirely interested in the panel but rather set up the panel because people asked for it.
“I still see this panel as a way of keeping us busy, it is like since you want a panel, here it is” Liborous said.
“Not Reopening the #Lekkitollgate is very far-fetched, but maybe they could set up monuments of the event as a remembrance of the events of that day”
Another thing is, if repairs and rebuilding are to commence, there would be pressure on motorists and traffic gridlocks.
Liborous concluded by saying that the panel would not be different from the other panels which didnt have any major effect that brought change.