The Benin branch of the Nigerian Bar Association on Wednesday commended the Lagos State Judicial Panel on #EndSARS for its timely report after the inquiry into the 2020 protests.
The Bar expressed its commendation in a statement signed by its Chairman Pius Oiwoh and Secretary Andrew Lawani.
It extended its commendation to lawyers who provided free legal services to victims, adding that the Bar was delighted to stand by the unrivalled finding of facts determined by the panel.
The Lagos State Judicial Panel on #EndSARS submitted its report to the Lagos State Government on Nov. 15.
The panel was inaugurated on Oct. 19, 2020 to look into citizens’ complaints of rights abuses by operatives of the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
Following the fracas at the Lekki toll gate on Oct. 20, 2020 between protesters and security operatives, the terms of reference of the panel was expanded to cover the imbroglio.
The panel, led by Justice Doris Okuwobi, sat for more than one year, listening to testimonies of petitioners, witnesses, experts, and lawyers.
The NBA in its statement on Wednesday described the report of the panel as a job well done.
“The NBA Benin Bar welcomes the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on restitution for victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters.
“We salute the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel for the courage, activism and doggedness which it displayed in coming up with an all-encompassing report.
“We also extend special commendation to our colleagues who appeared for many of the victims and many of them did this on pro-bono terms; they have displayed the finest traditions for which the Bar is known.
“The Lagos panel has made far-reaching findings and recommendations which enjoy wide acceptance.
“We hope the panel set up by the governor of Lagos State will come up with a Whitepaper speedily so as to give effect to the recommendations of the panel.
“We hope also that the content of the Lagos report would serve as a lesson to all,’’ it stated.
The Bar also advised other states who had set up such panels to make their reports public to engender public confidence.
While sitting, the panel announced that it would divide its assignment and report, into two principal segments.
The reports it stated would cover general cases of police abuses and the special case of the Lekki Toll Gate incident.
During the proceedings, compensations were paid to deserving cases of police abuses while a special case was made for victims of the Lekki Toll Gate incident of Oct. 20, 2020.