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November 29, 2020

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#EndSARS: Army’s inconsistency, other stories from judicial panels

3 min read

The activities of the panel of inquiry set up by the Lagos State Government to investigate police brutality in the state appears to have overshadowed similar panels in other states.

This is understandably because Lagos was the epicentre of the #EndSARS protests in the country.

Besides, the Lekki shooting in Lagos was, perhaps, the darkest phase of the historic protest.

On Saturday, a representative of the Nigerian Army, Ahmed Taiwo, told the Lagos panel that the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, lied about the Lekki shooting when he said he (Sanwo-Olu) did not invite the army to intervene in the protest.

“The Nigerian Army was not happy about two things, the first is the lie that he did not ask the army to intervene, while in fact, it was the proper thing to do as the police were already overrun.

“There were reasonable grounds to ask the army to intervene. Perhaps it was the way everything went that made him say so,” Mr Taiwo, a brigadier general and the commander, 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, told the panel.

Mr Taiwo said Mr Sanwo-Olu made a call to the Chief of Army Staff and the General Officer Commanding the division “after asking the Commander of 9 Brigade to intervene.”

The army, however, has said that soldiers fired blank ammunition at the protesters in Lekki and, therefore, no one was shot dead. The governor has not reacted to the army’s claims.

An investigation by PREMIUM TIMES contradicts the army’s claim.

The army’s latest testimony at the Lagos panel contradicts its initial position on the Lekki shooting.

The army, through its social media platforms, had labeled as fake the reports of their involvement in the October 20 shooting.

The army spokesperson, Sagir Musa, had told PREMIUM TIMES that the protest was a civil matter and that the army has nothing to do with the attack.

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Meanwhile, in Delta State, Nigeria’s South-south, a member of the panel in the state, Harrison Gwamnishu, last week, spoke out against the “wanton” arrest of Nigerian youth who participated in the #EndSARS protest.

Mr Gwamnishu said the arrest creates doubt over the government’s sincerity in setting up the panel in the various states.

Others

The panel in some other states only began their sittings last week.

The Plateau panel said on Thursday that it received over 30 petitions, while the Nasarawa panel inaugurated last week said it received 16 petitions.

The Gombe panel said it was yet to receive any petition as of last week.

Meanwhile, the Oyo State inaugurated its panel of inquiry last week.



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