The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)-related abuses and the October 20 Lekki Tollgate shootings ended its assignment on Monday, one year after it was set up by the Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwoolu.
Justice Doris Okuwobi, who presided over the nine-man panel, dropped the curtains with compensations for victims and recommendations to the government. She said: “The panel has officially ended its sitting today (yesterday). Starting from tomorrow, the panel will no longer sit.
“Tomorrow, October 19, was actually the end of the panel’s sitting, but since it’s a public holiday, the sitting officially ends today. The panel sitting has officially ended, but we are still working.”
The panel awarded N148.2 million as compensation to 24 petitioners, bringing the total amount awarded since the panel commenced sitting on October 26, last year, to N410 million to 71 petitioners.
Some of the recipients of compensation awards were the late Ayodele Solaja family, which received N10 million.
Others included: Abayomi Likinyo (N4 million); James Arebha (N4 million); Juliana Adeoti (N1 million) and the Late Yemi Abdulkareem family (N10 million).
A petitioner, Mrs. Adeola Mukaila, who was brutally beaten by policemen and her co-petitioner, Stella Edegwa, were awarded N700, 000 and N500, 000 for their ordeals.
Esther Sylvester, whose father, Okoronkwo Sylvester, was shot dead by policemen in the Tejuosho area of the state, got N10 million compensation.
Justice Okuwobi said the panel received 255 petitions from members of the public out of which 252 were considered for hearing, adding that it was able to decide on 182 petitions.
Fifty-two petitions, she noted, were not heard due to time constraints. She however explained that they would be included in the Panel’s reports for necessary advice and actions to be taken by the Lagos State government through the Ministry of Justice.
She assured those whose petitions were either not concluded or not taken, not to despair hinting that a body to treat cases of human rights abuses might be set up by the state government to handle some of these petitions.
The panel said it would submit two reports to the Lagos State Government through the supervising Ministry of Justice.
The reports are the findings and recommendations on the Lekki Tollgate shootings on the one hand and another one on the Nigerian Police-related abuses, especially the disbanded SARS.