October 22, 2020

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The Lagos State government on Thursday said it has set to a seven-member panel to look into cases of police brutality and compensation for victims with verifiable cases.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos State governor said this during a press briefing.

Mr Sanwo-Olu said a N200 million trust fund has been setup and will be managed by the panel set up to compensate victims of police brutality.

This announcement is following days of #EndSARS protests, which have rocked the state.

Protesters have taken over major roads in Lagos clamouring for an end to police brutality. The Lekki toll gate and Lagos-Ibadan expressway, which are major routes for economic activities in the state, have been blocked for several days by the protesters.

The angry protesters are also calling for a change in governance in Nigeria.

Compensation for victims of police brutality

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Sanwo-Olu said a ‘Panel of Enquiry and Restitution’ has been set up for victims of SARS In Lagos.

“We have setup a seven-man panel that will ensure that all those with verifiable cases of SARS brutality or fatality receive compensation.

Lagos Sate Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu,during aduring a press briefing.
Lagos Sate Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu,during aduring a press briefing.

“The panel will be chaired by retired Justice Doris Okuwobi. Other members are: Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa, SAN (representing the civil society); Rtd. DIG Taiwo Lakanu (a retired deputy inspector general of police); Ms Patience Udoh (representing the civil society); Mr. Segun Awosanya (human rights activist); Mrs. Olutoyin Odusanya (director, Citizens Mediation Centre ; as well as a rep/member of the youth-led protest and a representative of the Human Rights Commission, ” he said.

Emphasising that no amount can compensate for the loss and sad experiences of individuals in the hands of SARS officials, the state governor said a trust fund of N200 million has been set up for compensation.

“We are setting up a help desk for the complaints and petitions to the panel. From next week, you will be able to reach them directly on these dedicated numbers; 0901 051 3203; 3204; and 3205,” the state governor said.

Meanwhile, the state governor said police officers involved in brutalising protesters during the Monday protest at Surulere have been identified and will face trial.

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“The Lagos CP has arrested the officers involved in brutalising protesters at the Surulere protest venue and an orderly room trial has begun.

“The officers are; Inspector Bagou Michael; Inspector Ekpoudom Etop; Sgt Nnamdi Majura & Sgt. Akinyemi Benson. They are facing orderly room trials immediately and be rest assured that we will follow up on these trials,” Mr Sanwo-Olu said.

While maintaining that protesters have the right to peaceful gathering across the state, Mr Sanwo-Olu said the police in Lagos have a clear instruction to cooperate with protesters, and in situations where arrests are unavoidable, there must be full transparency and upholding of their legal rights.

Mr Sanwo-Olu pleaded with the youths to stop protesting and give the government a chance to take appropriate actions.

“I want to call on the youth and other groups protesting across the state to receive our outstretched arms, sheath your powerful swords and give us a chance at the federal and state level, to consolidate on these actions being promptly taken to address your concerns.

“Even as we affirm the constitutional rights of all protesters to peacefully make your grievances known, it is also our duty as a government to ensure that the exercise of a set of rights by one group of people does not in any way constrain the rights of any other group of people, ” he said.

The #EndSARS protest has continued in different parts of the country despite different concessions made by the government to appease the youth.


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