Hoodlums target EndSARS panel’s witnesses, as another receives death threat in Lagos

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Another witness who testified before the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses, and Lekki Shooting incident of October 20, 2020 has received a death threat, less than 24 hours after a victim was brutally attacked on Sunday night.

It would be recalled that a member of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses, Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa SAN, had, last Thursday, raised the alarm claiming that his colleagues of the panel are being attacked by suspected agents of the government.

Lagos #EndSARS Panel

Adegboruwa disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, urging Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to call all agents of state to order and to keep to his promise to us to release a White Paper within two weeks.

“Since the submission of the EndSARS Panel Report to the Governor of Lagos State on November 15, 2021, members of the panel have become subject of vicious attacks by those suspected to be agents of the government.

“All manner of allegations have been heaped upon panel members, some of who have been called unprintable names.

EndSARS witnesses under attack in Lagos, the latest threat

“I can confirm that no member of the panel lobbied to be appointed into the panel. 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 (yesterday), my attention has been drawn to an interview by a senior counsel to the Lagos State Government, to the effect that panel members collected bribe in the course of the assignment. It is unfair, ungodly and least expected of the government and its lawyers.

Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN

“I should not become a victim of unwarranted attack just because I accepted to serve the government and the outcome of that assignment did not favour the expectations of the government.

“Suffice to mention that I worked with men and women of unblemished integrity and I’m proud to be associated with them all.

“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, NEC.’’

However, only last Monday, Adegboruwa renewed his call for protection as attacks moved from his colleagues to witnesses who testified before the panel.

The lawyer, in a personally signed statement, on Monday, while disclosing of physical bodily injuries suffered by a witness who testified against the government during the panel’s sitting, said he has been subjected to various forms of abuses since the panel submitted its report which indicted government and state agencies of complicity in the murder and injuries to unarmed peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate area of Lagos, on October 20, 2020.

“Two prominent lawyers of the government have openly incited opinions against me on national television, with mindless accusations.

“Just last night, one of the prominent EndSARS protesters who testified before the Panel, Miss Kamsiyochukwu Ibe, was attacked and dealt serous 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 believe 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,” said Adegboruwa.

One of the witnesses who testified at the panel’s sitting in Lagos, Miss Kamsiyochukwu Ibe, had suffered machete attacks from hoodlums at a busstop on Sunday night, in Lagos.

“Last night, I was attacked on my way back by three guys whom I thought were passersby. I was standing at the bus stop waiting for a vehicle only for one of them to shine light on my face and said, ‘Is this not the girl from the panel?’ ‘You are the one claiming you sabi pass, you no wan stop.’

“He said if they killed me, they wanted to see how I would continue to agitate for justice. I said I didn’t know what they were talking about. They started hitting me all over my body, cutting my hands and legs like I was a thief. I survived by the grace of God because I thought I would die at that bus stop. This was what they did to me,” Kamsiyochukwu narrated her ordeal.

Only Monday, another witness, identified as Miss Dabira Adeyinka, received a death threat posted to her with the tag; ‘You’re next.’

“Kamsi was butchered. Her bones were showing. As soon as the doctor finished with her, we came outside.

“One of us saw an envelope on the car. When we opened it, we saw a paper with my image without the head.

“Then they wrote ‘Your’re next. Game on’.

“It was an image of me at the Lagos panel, when I went to give my testimony.

“Right now, we’re trying to stay safe. I have only spoken with my lawyer,” Dabira said.

Asked if she had reported at a police station, she said no.

“Which policeman will smile at me? I don’t trust them.

“Meanwhile, all we are asking for is for the government to care for the people. That’s all,” Dabira added.

The Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry (JPI) on #EndSARS submitted its report to the State Government, penultimate Monday, in which it clearly established that the Nigerian Army fired live ammunition at peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20, last year.

The panel chaired by Justice Doris Okuwobi submitted two reports of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for victims of SARS related abuses and other matters to Mr Sanwo-Olu on Monday at the Lagos House, Ikeja.

The two reports submitted by the Panel to Lagos State Government are on investigation on petitions on several abuses and killings by the Nigerian Police, especially the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the October 20, 2020 Lekki Toll Gate shootings during the EndSARS protests hijacked by hoodlums.

The panel in its reports also found the security operatives culpable in the shooting incident on account of 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, on the heels of the outrage that trailed the shooting of peaceful protesters who had converged on the Lekki Toll Gate to protest highhanded and professional misconduct of security operatives attached to the now-disbanded Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS) Unit of the Nigeria Police.

Terms of Reference of the Panel was expanded to cover that Lekki shooting incident.

The Panel sat for well over one year and took testimonies of petitioners, witnesses, experts and lawyers.

The panel listed 48 names as casualties of the incident.

According to the report, 9 protesters were confirmed dead, while four were presumed dead, even as about 20 sustained gunshot injuries, while 13 others were assaulted by the military.

The 309-page report established that the protesters were allegedly killed by policemen and soldiers.

The panel also received physical testimonies of witnesses especially Miss Serah Ibrahim, Mr. Onileowo Legend, Miss Dabira Adeyinka, Miss Kamsiyochukwu Ibe (all of whom were personally present at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20), as to the fact that the Army shot live bullets, video evidence of casualties, fatalities, and others, all lend credence to the fact that the Army shot at the protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20 2020 which resulted into deaths and other physical injuries.

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