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Lagos SARS panel member boycotts sitting after CBN freeze account

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Efforts by the Lagos Judicial panel of inquiry on dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) brutality and other matters to listen to Nigerian Army statement on alleged EndSARS protesters attack at Lekki tollgate has been cut short after a member of the panel boycotted the sitting.

The member, Oluwarinu Oduala, who was among the two selected by youths to represent their interest on the panel, was absent on Saturday when the military showed up to testify before the fact-finding panel, forcing the chairman, Justice Doris Okuwobi (retd), to announce another one-week adjournment.

Oduala, who was among the 20 EndSARS protesters whose bank accounts were frozen by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for 90 days pending outcome of an ongoing investigation to ascertain sources of the funds that came into their accounts before and during the protest that lasted for several days across the country.

The panel member and other 19 person accounts were frozen by the apex bank after obtaining a court order from a Federal High Court sitting in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja with suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020.

In the suit, Oduala, who was one of the arrowheads of the EndSARS demonstration, and 19 others, would have no access to their accounts till January 2021, when the investigation was expected to have been completed by CBN.

As gathered, the panel member, in protest against the move by CBN, did not show up for sitting on Saturday, and efforts to contact him by the panel to get him to attend the sitting proved abortive.

Minutes after the panel realised that she was not going to attend, the chairman said the panel would have to suspend sitting since it could not form a quorum as stipulated in the panel formation.

Okuwobi said: “We announce the adjournment of the sitting for a week due to lack of quorum. Our sitting never commenced until the youth representatives were sworn in & definitely can not proceed in their absence due to recent developments”.

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