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Three Lekki End SARS Protesters Appear Before Panel of Inquiry

There was a mild drama at the sitting of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) abuse and other matters yesterday as three Lekki protesters, identified as Victoria Oniru, Dabira Ayuku, and Perpetual Kamsiyuchukwu were presented by their legal counsel, Adesina Ogunlana.

Ogunlana prayed the panel to allow him cross-examine the Managing Director of Lekki Concession Company (LCC), Mr Abayomi Omomuwasan, who had last Friday testified.

However, before they were presented before the panel, a lawyer to the Lagos state government, I. J Okechukwu, opposed the presentation of #EndSARS protesters, arguing that #EndSARS is not a legal entity and it is faceless.

Okechukwu said: “There is no entity called “EndSARS protesters. My learned friend is entitled to represent anybody that is known to law. We cannot have anybody appearing for a body that is not known to law, no leader, no structure. EndSARS protesters is a nebulous entity.”
 
Counsel to LLC, Rotimi Seriki also aligned with the government counsel, saying though the LCC was not an “interested party” in the matter, it got invited because “the panel feels it might have relevant evidence to assist it. We cannot allow every Tom, Dick, and Harry to represent.”
Ogunlana, however, held that he did not just appear at the panel without prior instruction of his clients. 

He called out three persons, whom he said were part of the protesters and had hired him to represent them. “I am not representing spirits or ghosts. We’re here to tell the truth. These are part of the people running underground being threatened,” Ogunlana said in response to earlier objections.

Meanwhile, the panel yesterday commenced watching of the CCTV footage presented to it by LCC. The footage captured activities of the protesters before the shooting by Military officers on EndSARS protesters at Lekki tollgate.

At the last sitting on Friday, LCC boss, Omomuwasan had told the panel that the footage was presented to the panel to dispel claims that the CCTV cameras mounted at the tollgate were removed before the military officers attacked the protesters.

Following the approval of the panel chairman to show the footage, counsels to Lagos State Government, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), and LCC lawyer, Seriki, argued that the footage be fast-forwarded to about two hours before portions of footage relevant to the incident.

But counsel to EndSARS protesters, Ogunlana rejected the appeal and demanded that the footage be viewed completely to ascertain if it had not been edited.

The 20-hour CCTV footage was, however, played for only four hours. In parts of the footage shown, the scenery showed the early hours of the morning with vehicles seen parked around the tollgate plaza and large clusters of #EndSARS protesters seen milling around.

(THE GUARDIAN)

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