Lagos #ENDSARS panel gets three months’ extension

THE Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses has been extended for  three more months.

This was disclosed by the Chairman of the Panel Doris Okuwobi while hearing petitions on Friday.

The panel was set up by the Lagos State Government to look into grievances of victims of police brutality on October 19, 2020.

The state government had inaugurated the panel to sit for a period of six months, following weeks of protests by Nigerian youths against the extrajudicial killings and misconduct by SARS officials.

Originally meant to expire on April 19, 2021, the panel was extended in March for a period of three months with a new deadline fixed for July 19, 2021.

The ICIR reported that there had been a total of 235 petitions received from victims of police brutality across the state.

However, as the new deadline approached, only 126 petitions out of the 235 received had been heard. This has led to a three-month extension, as hearings would continue at the judicial panel until October 19, 2021.

The Army had withdrawn from the hearing after Reddington Hospital testified that it treated victims from the #EndSARS protest with bullet wounds on October 20, 21 and 22.

Internal clashes and disagreement have also occurred within the panel due to members’ failure to agree on some decisions such as the reopening of the Lekki Toll Gate before conclusion of the hearing.




    Five of the nine-member panel had voted to return control of the toll gate to its operators in February.

    The disagreement led to the withdrawal of youths and civil society representatives who were members of the panel.

    Since the commencement of the hearing, some petitioners have been awarded monetary compensations based on petitions presented before the panel.

    So far, over N30 million has been awarded to victims of police brutality and SARS- related abuses within the state.

     

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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