By Chinenye Festus:-
Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has demonstrated his readiness to listen to the agitation of the EndSars protesters.
To this effect, the governor sworn in a seven-man Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution to investigate cases of brutality and human rights violations committed by operatives of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the State.
The swearing-in comes days after the governor announced on Thursday that he has set up a Judicial panel to look into cases of police brutality and thoroughly investigate human right violation by the disbanded unit. The governor made the announcement during a live address held at the State House, Marina.
The panel, which is being headed by retired Justice Doris Okuwobi, will sit for six months and is mandated to thoroughly investigate all verifiable claims of abuses and fatalities arising from SARS engagement with the objective to bring erring officers to justice and get compensation for the victims.
Human Rights Commission and protesters are expected to nominate their representatives before the panel commences sitting next week as the panel members have three individuals representing Civil Society, one person representing a security agency, and one person representing the Government.
The developments, Sanwo-Olu said, were part of the agreements reached at the Thursday meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) presided over by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and which had all Governors in attendance.
“I attended a National Economic Council Sub-Committee Meeting in which the major focus was the ongoing EndSARS protests and the necessary steps to take to assuage the feelings of the protesters. In line with the five-point demands of the protesters, we unanimously decided to inaugurate a panel of investigation into human rights abuses, the governor said.
A seven-member Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for victims of SARS-related abuses in Lagos State is now being constituted. This panel will ensure that all those with verifiable cases of SARS brutality or fatality get justice and receive compensation. The panel will be chaired by retired Justice Doris Okuwobi.
“Other panel members are Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa, SAN (representing the Civil Society Mr. Segun Awosanya (Human Rights Activist), Mrs. Olutoyin Odusanya (Director, Lagos Citizens Mediation Center), as well as a representative of the youth-led protest and a representative of the Human Rights Commission.”
The State Government, Sanwo-Olu said, has set up a help desk for the public complaints and petitions to the panel. Lagos residents, who have petitioned against SARS, can reach the help desk on the numbers: 0901 051 3203, 0901 051 3204, and 0901 051 3205.
The Governor also set aside N200 million Trust Fund for the compensation of victims and families of those who died in the course of SARS’ activities.
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