Lagos — The Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry for Restitution for victims of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) related abuses and the Lekki Tollgate Incident on Monday said it has so far received 15 petitions from victims.
Chairperson of the Panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi (Rtd) at the inaugural sitting appealed to victims of the October 20, 2020 Lekki shooting to come forward with their petitions.
The panel according to Okuwobi is independent of the Lagos State Government, assuring that it will ensure that individuals with valid complaints of human rights violations receive immediate compensation to assuage their pains.
"We are looking forward to memoranda from those affected by the unfortunate incident of the shooting at the Lekki Tollgate plaza by the military.
"The panel has received not less than 15 petitions relating to the disbanded SARS.
"We are ready to commence the public sitting. The petitions are here without the petitioners around," she said, noting that full proceedings begin on October 27, 2020.
She called on the Civil Society to assist the panel with credible evidence of the killings at the Lekki Tollgate Plaza to enable the panel make appropriate recommendations.
Justice Okuwobi explained that he panel could not begin proceedings immediately because the nominations of the two youth representatives into the panel was sent in late.
"The nominated youth representatives had not yet been sworn-in and could not join the panel for Monday proceedings," she noted.
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olumide Akpata was present at the proceedings. He said that the NBA will be partnering with the panel and would provide pro bono services to affected victims.
"The NBA is here to help victims of the now-disbanded SARS and other human rights violations to properly articulate their petitions to this panel pro bono. This will be done in Lagos and around the country. We will participate in observatory capacity," he said.