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Lagos #EndSARS Panel Suspends Sitting Indefinitely

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Lagos #EndSARS Panel Suspends Sitting IndefinitelyLagos state judicial panel on police brutality has on Saturday, September 18 suspended its sitting until further notice.

Doris Okwuobi, the retired judge heading the panel, made the announcement, saying the panel is expected to work on two reports before the expiration of its tenure.

The chairperson appealed to petitioners and counsels to bear with the panel, adding that notice of hearings will be sent out for petitions that have not been concluded.

Okwuobi expressed;

There are two reports that we are expected to work on, we are not close enough to any of them, we cannot continue with the sitting and end up the assignment without concluding. So we will not be sitting from today. But as soon as we find ourselves in a comfortable position, we will send hearing notices to cases that are being listed.

Please bear with us. We can’t do otherwise. We can’t speculate on any further extension so we have to work towards concluding the assignment as early as we can.

She added;

This is without prejudice to us coming back to concluding some of the part-heard matters. Date will be communicated to petitioners who had their petitions pending when we will only sit over decisions and hand over cheques to those petitioners.

The new development comes few hours after a member of the panel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), raised an alarm of plans to frustrate the team of reaching a meaningful conclusions on investigations into October 20 Lekki Toll Gate incident.

He posted;

EndSARS Panel Being Frustrated; there are attempts to frustrate the EndSARS Judicial Panel from reaching meaningful conclusions on investigations into the Lekki Toll Gate Incident of 20th October 2020. I will give details subsequently.

In October 2020, many Nigerians took to the streets to demonstrate against police brutality under the #EndSARS campaign.

The demands led to the disbandment of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force.

On October 19, 2020, the Lagos State Government set up the judicial panel of inquiry and restitution to investigate cases of human rights abuses by operatives of the now-disbanded SARS and other security agencies.

This was sequel to the directive of the national economic council (NEC) that mandated states to set up panels to investigate police brutality in the wake of the #EndSARS protests.

The panel was given a mandate of six months to hear petitions submitted by members of the public, while a total of N200million was earmarked as compensation.

The panel’s sitting ought to have ended on April 19, but was extended by three months till July 19.

It was subsequently granted additional three months for hearing of petitions and was expected to conclude its sitting on October 19.

In August, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo-led national economic council (NEC) said only the Lagos judicial panel was yet to submit its report to the council.

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