Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has said the leaked report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel on #EndSARS has reopened healed wounds.
Two Monday's ago, the panel submitted the report to the Lagos State Government, in which it clearly found that the Nigerian Army and police fired live bullets at peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate last year.
It also concluded that the “deliberate absence of officers of the Nigerian Army who were present at the Lekki Toll Gate and who were summoned by the Panel was a calculated attempt to conceal material evidence from the Panel”.
The panel was inaugurated on October 19, 2020, to look into complaints of citizens against human rights abuses by the police.
Following the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, the Terms of Reference of the Panel was expanded to cover that incident.
The Panel sat for well over one year and took testimonies of petitioners, witnesses, experts and lawyers.
The submission of the panel that there was indeed a massacre has since attracted public outrage, with Nigerians and the international community calling for the prosecution of the offending officers.
Reacting on Monday, Sanwo-Olu said the leaked report reopened healed wounds.
He also stated that Nigerians were outraged over the report because they have allowed their prejudices and emotional bias to take over.
He said, “It is with a great sense of responsibility that I address you today on the reactions that have trailed the release of the Lagos EndSARS panel report submitted to me about two weeks ago and now it has played out in public discourse since then.
“We owe it to you, the people of Lagos to constantly speak and engage with you in easy times, we'll never shy away from making our case while also ensuring that we listen to you.
“We as an administration had determined that the next steps that we'll be taking in this process of coming to terms with the event of October 2020 must bring closure to a painful episode in the history of our state, this in my view is a moment that beckons to us to define who and what we are, to be a centre of excellence, we must be a center of truth, to be a prosperous city, we must establish ourselves as a peaceful entity and to achieve the greater Lagos of our dreams, we must learn to live in harmony.
“It is easy to hide behind our own prejudices treating them as deeper truths instead of a superficial lie, its far too easy to take sides and choose emotions over facts even when the truth is to be found in a state of nuance. It is easy to choose darkness over light, playing unhealthy games of suspicion, to clinch to believe that do not carry the weight of verifiable evidence, to become a champion of prejudice is to own a fleeting and a false ... To the victory of rancour over reason of vengeance over justice of anger over compassion, today we stand before you to declare that I reject this path and I invite you to do same.
“...While I commend the panel for undertaking the task to the best of its ability, it is however regrettable that the panel's work and a leakage of an unauthorised version of the report has generated tension, sadly the healed wound has been reopened.
“The heated exchanges among various shades on the report has unfortunately put us at the risk of meeting a larger picture, the fact that what we all see in common is a land in which we are all safe and secure, law enforcement agents are trusted and justice is guaranteed for all.
“I have never been in any doubt as to the sincerity, patriotism and noble motivations of the organisers and participants in the movement to and end of the human rights abuses by the now disbanded SARS.”