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LASG persuades SARS panel members after boycotting sitting, offers legal advice  

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

After considering numbers of Nigerians relying on Lagos Judicial panel of inquiry on dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) brutality and other matters, the State Government has appealed to a member of the investigative team representing youth, Oluwarinu Oduala, to reconsider her decision after boycotting sitting over Central Bank of Nigeria moves.

It added that rather than boycott sitting, Oduala and 19 others affected by CBN court order could drag the apex bank before an appeal court to seek redress and continue with the ongoing investigation to unravel mysteries that had EndSARS protest hijack and military attack on the protesters in Lagos.

The state attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyo Onigbanjo, made the appeal on Monday during an interview with newsmen on what becomes the panel fate after Oduala boycotted the investigation team in the state.

Onigbanjo recalled that Oduala was among the two selected by youths to represent their interest on the panel, boycotted the fact-finding panel sitting after CBN freeze her account over the inflow of funds especially during the protest, forcing the chairman, Justice Doris Okuwobi (retd), to announce adjournment. 

According to him, I will be urging the affected panel member and the other youths involved in the ongoing investigation to return and let the investigation continue”.

Further appealing to the protester, Onigbanjo stated that Oduala should consider the number of those people both internationally and locally especially those that suffered gunshot wounds at Lekki tollgate and were already waiting for outcome of the ongoing investigation to get justice. 

“My take is that the representatives that were affected by the CBN directives should bear two things in mind, one is that the panel not forming a quorum which indicated that all the victims of SARS brutality in Lagos will not get the compensation that they wished. All those people are affected not on the fault of theirs but because a panel member has some legal issues with the apex bank.

“The state and Nigerians are interested in outcome of the panel and want to ensure that all those that suffer abuses in Lagos get justice as well as get the compensation awarded to them by the panel.

“Also, based on what happened at the tollgate, that very crucial investigation will not be able to go on because of this quorum issue and I think that in the interest of the nation and particularly Lagos State, it is important that the panel investigate and unravel what happened at the toll plaza that evening”, Onigbanjo added.

Offering legal advises to the EndSARS protester on the panel and others affected by the court pronouncement, the attorney-general stated that the constitution allows them to challenge any ruling that they felt was not favourable to them at a higher court.

“For instance, if the apex bank gets a court order, I believe that decision can be challenged on its own. They can go to the court and challenge it and allow the panel to continue its work which impacts on the lives of so many people. In that case, I want to appeal to the youth representatives to return to the panel considering the number of people that will be affected by their decision”.

On what could be the fate of the panel if Oduala refuses to return and continue her duty with others, the commissioner for justice stated that the panel chairman would decide further existence of the investigation team.

He noted that at the inauguration, the panel members had appealed that the state government stair clear from interfering in their activities and that the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has assured that none of the state government would interrupt their activities.

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