Tue. Apr 20th, 2021

#EndSARS Protest: 2 Nigerians Want Court To Disband Lagos Judicial Panel

#EndSARS Protest: 2 Nigerians Want Court To Disband Lagos Judicial Panel

Two persons have instituted a suit before a Lagos Federal High Court, seeking an order to disband the the Judicial Panel Of Inquiry and Restitution For Victims Of SARS Related Abuses In Lagos State and Lekki Toll Gate Incident.

The suit which has Lagos State governor; Chairman, Judicial Panel of Enquiry; its chairman and the Lagos State Attorney-General as defendants is marked FHC/L/CS/1572/2020.

The two Nigerians, Adekunle Augustine and Semion Akogwu, are praying the court to disband the panel on the ground that the Lagos state governor, being a party in the matter, did not exercise his power in public interest by setting up the panel.

They also urged the court to make a declaration that the Lagos State Governor, being a party, cannot set up a panel to investigate itself and the outcome of the panel will be in favour of the State, as they said “he who pays the piper dictates the tune”.

The plaintiffs seek the above declarations through the counsel, Samuel Adama, while also asked the court to determine the following questions in their favour: “whether having regards to section 36(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) the second Defendant, the Panel’s Chairman, being an Agent/Appointee  of the first Defendant, Lagos State governor, can ensure fair hearing for the Plaintiffs under the auspices of the third defendant, the Panel, in a mater in which the State Governor, is a party?

“Whether having regards to section 5(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the State governor validly exercised his powers in public interest by setting up the Panel to investigate a matter in which the governor himself is a party?

“Whether the governor is a party to be investigated under the terms of reference for the Panel in the discharge of its mandate? And that the State’s Attorney-General, being the Chief law officer of the State ought to act in public interest by advising the governor against the setting up of the Panel and ought to do all things legally possible to ensure fair hearing in the matter”?

The plaintiffs said upon determination of the above in their favour, urged the court to make an order disbanding the Panel and nullifying its proceedings and whatsoever actions taken thereby so far to give way for a credible and independent commission of inquiry to be set up by the Federal Government to take over the mandate of the Panel as contemplated by its establishment abi nitio.

The plaintiffs in an affidavit attached with the motion on notice, deposed to by Adekunle Augustine, averred that on October 20, 2020, the Lagos State governor, caused the deployment of troops to Lekki Toll gate, Lagos State where a large number of youths were gathered in peaceful protest against police brutality; and the troops fired several artillery weapons at the scene leading to various degrees of bodily injuries and alleged death of several people.

The deponent stated that the State Governor admitted that he authorized the deployment of troops to Lekki Toll Gate on October, 20, 2020 l, to stop the peaceful protest which by extension occasioned the use of artillery weapons by the soldiers at the scene, leading to some life threatening injuries, grievous hurt and alleged death of many of the protesters.

The deponent also stated that the Lagos State Governor, thereafter set up of the Panel, consisting of 20 members with the Panel Chairman, as the Head, for the purpose of investigating the Lekki Toll Gate military invasion and other matters thereto and to make recommendations to the State Governor on the findings.

He stated that since the Lagos Governor authorized the military invasion that led to the various degrees of bodily hurt and alleged death of many Nigerians who were at the scene at Lekki Toll Gate on the 20th October, 2020, he is a principal figure to be investigated and hence, he will not have fair hearing on the platform of the Panel chairman, which is a creation of the State Governor, that is equally on the threshold of investigation over the matter.”

No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.