40 discrepancies found in EndSARS panel report – Lagos counsel

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

Counsel for the Lagos State Government, Abiodun Owonikoko, has disclosed that there are about 40 discrepancies in the report submitted by the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters.

Owonikoko, SAN, who served as counsel to the Lagos State Government during the year-long sitting of the EndSARS judicial panel said this during a television programme on Thursday.

Recall that the Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel on Monday, November 15 submitted its report to the Lagos State Government.

Findings of the 309-page report titled, ‘Report of Lekki Incident Investigation Of 20th October 2020, showed that there was a “massacre in context” at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020.

The panel also claimed that at least 48 protesters were either killed, injured, or assaulted by soldiers and police.

It also indicted the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lekki Concession Company, the police, and the army.

However, Owonikoko faulted some of the findings in the report, adding that important details were omitted by the panel.

He also expressed concern that the findings and recommendations of the panel were made public.

The lawyer said, “By law, the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the panel were not supposed to be made public. The report making rounds on social media is a draft of a minority opinion because I was there all through the proceedings.

“I am particularly shocked to read what is contained in the report because it is not completely accurate. I sighted over 40 discrepancies in this report, including awarding N15 million to someone who was a witness to a police brutality incident that had nothing to do with the Lekki incident. What kind of report is that?

“All the evidence we were able to gather during the proceedings, none of them could be fully established.

“The mistake made by the government was not setting up an entirely different panel to look into the Lekki incident because there are some members of the panel that are protagonists in the case against the Police. They were not supposed to be a part of it.”

The panel was inaugurated on October 19, 2020, to look into complaints of citizens against human rights abuses by the police. But following the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, the Terms of Reference of the panel were expanded to cover that incident.

The panel treated 235 petitions and awarded N410 million as compensation to 70 victims.

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