A member of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS-Related Abuses and other matters, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) says there have been lots of threats by those suspected to be agents of the government against him since the release of the report of the panel saying protesters were killed at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020.
Adegboruwa in a statement issued on Monday said Nigerians should hold the government responsible if any misfortune befalls him.
He noted that two prominent lawyers of the government have openly incited opinions against him on national television, with mindless accusations.
He also said a prominent #EndSARS protester who testified before the Panel, Kamsiyochukwu Ibe, was attacked on Sunday night, as he called on his colleagues in the Nigerian Bar Association, civil rights movement and the good people of Nigeria, to hold the government responsible should anything happen to him.
The Lagos judicial panel on police brutality had submitted its report to the governor last Monday.
The Lagos government on October 19, 2020, inaugurated the judicial panel to investigate petitions on police brutality in the state as part of recommendations put forward during the #EndSARS protests.
The Doris Okuwobi-led panel during the sitting awarded more petitioners the sum of N148.2million as compensation for various brutalities they suffered at the hands of police officers including the illegal killing of their loved ones, harassment and arrests.
The report established that there was actually a massacre at the toll gate on the said date and this has since generated public outrage.
But Adegboruwa, who represented the civil society organisations on the panel, said members of the panel are being unfairly persecuted by some state government officials.
In the statement, he said, “Since the submission of the report of the Lagos #EndSARS Panel, there have been lots of threats and attacks, by those suspected to be agents of the government, upon me, especially in the media.
“I have not committed any crime beyond joining other eminent Nigerians with unblemished integrity, to accept the nomination of government on behalf of my constituency, the Nigerian Bar Association and the civil society and the indeed the masses of our people, for a national assignment.
“Two prominent lawyers of the government have openly incited opinions against me on national television, with mindless accusations. I have however refused to be intimidated or bend to the tactics of government to be silenced.
“I urge the good people of Nigeria, my professional colleagues in the Nigerian Bar Association, my comrades in the civil rights movement and the people of Nigeria, to hold the government responsible should anything happen to me.
“Just last night, one of the prominent EndSARS protesters who testified before the Panel, Miss Kamsiyochukwu Ibe, was attacked and dealt serious machete blows, in what was clearly an attempted murder, as reported by her counsel, with very disturbing photos.
“I heeded the clarion call to serve by the government with the honest belief that the Panel was meant to say the truth and nothing but the truth, which is what we have done. It is left for government and Nigerians to do the needful with the report of the Panel.”
Last Thursday, Adegboruwa, appealed to the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to “call all agents of state to order.”
According to him, “All manner of allegations have been heaped upon panel members, some of whom have been called unprintable names.”
The lawyer and activist explained that no member of the panel lobbied to be appointed to the panel.
In a statement, he said, “As a matter of fact, in my own case, His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, appealed to me to accept my appointment, which I saw as a call to national service.
“The primary reason the Governor gave to me then was that he wanted men and women of integrity, independent and not subject to manipulation, to be on the panel. Just today, my attention has been drawn to an interview by a senior counsel to the Lagos State Government, to the effect that panel members collected bribes in the course of the assignment.
“It is unfair, ungodly and least expected of the government and its lawyers. The Lagos State Government asked for two weeks to enable it to release a White Paper on the report submitted to it by the Panel.
“And we have been waiting, but it would seem that the Lagos State Government has now unleashed mindless propaganda upon panel members whilst at the same time asking for restraint from the general public.
“I have in my custody, certified true copies of all proceedings of the panel and all exhibits tendered before the panel in respect of the Lekki Toll Gate Investigation. I urge the government to call its agents and lawyers to order so as not to provoke aggravated responses.
“It is unfair to seek to denigrate peoples’ hard-earned reputation on account only that they accepted to render selfless service at the behest of government. If the government and its agents are not restrained from attacking others, nothing stops us from defending our integrity.
“I, therefore, appeal to His Excellency the Governor of Lagos State to call all agents of state to order and to keep to his promise to us to release a White Paper within two weeks and to send the unedited report of the Panel, to the National Economic Council.”