Adegboruwa Considers Withdrawal from Lagos Judicial Panel Over Lekki Tollgate Arrests

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Ebun Adegboruwa

Ebun Adegboruwa, SAN, says he is considering withdrawing from the judicial panel established by the Lagos state government to probe brutality by officers of the disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS).

The lawyer and right activist said the consideration is based on the arrest of protesters at the Lekki tollgate on Saturday.

Adegboruwa noted that he is “totally overwhelmed” seeing images and videos of unarmed protesters being “dehumanised, stripped half-naked and cramped together in a rickety bus”.

Last Saturday, Adegboruwa and three other members of the panel voted against the ruling of Doris Okuwobi, chairperson of the panel, granting approval to the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) to resume operations at the tollgate.

The ruling did not go down well with some Nigerian youths, who stormed the tollgate on Saturday to protest the decision — despite the presence of armed security personnel.

Reacting to the development, the human rights lawyer, in a statement on Saturday, described the arrest of the protesters as “totally unacceptable”.

“I have been monitoring events at the Lekki tollgate since morning, and I am totally overwhelmed with the images, videos and sundry evidence of police brutality of armless civilians, who ventured to protest at the tollgate. In one particular video, I saw citizens of Nigeria being dehumanised, stripped half-naked and cramped together in a rickety bus. This is totally unacceptable,” he said.

“While we are yet to come to terms with the events of October 20, 2020, it becomes worrisome that the security agencies have not learnt any positive lesson from those occurrences. I commend the protesters for their peaceful conduct.

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“I cannot in good conscience continue to sit at any Panel of Inquiry to heal wounds and end police brutality, when fresh assaults are being perpetrated with impunity.

“Consequently, I am presently consulting with my constituency within the civil society, as to my continued participation in the EndSARS Judicial Panel.

“I hereby demand the immediate release of all those arrested in connection with the peaceful protest at the Lekki tollgate today. On no account should anything happen to any of them while in the custody of the police.

“I appeal for calm on all sides, in order not to escalate the worsening security situation across the land. I cannot fail to point out the fact that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is a product of protest and civil disobedience. Let history vindicate the just.”

TheCable had reported that Rinu Oduala, one of the organisers of the #EndSARS protests, withdrew from the panel, saying she will not be part of a “coverup”.

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