Ebunoluwa Adegboruwa, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has warned the Lagos State Government against frustrating the good work of the panel which investigated police brutality.
Since the panel presented its report to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday, there have been mixed reactions.
In a leaked report, 11 persons were said to have been killed at the Lekki Tollgate.
The panel, which indicted the army and the police, also recommended that the Lekki tollgate be renamed after EndSARS while October 20 every year should be toll free in honour of those killed during the protests.
While many young persons and celebrities who identified with the protests have hailed the panel and accused the government of cover up, there are persons saying the leaked report was error-ridden.
In a statement, Adegboruwa, who served as a member of the Panel on #EndSARS, hinted that there is an attempt to subject the report of the Panel and integrity of Panel members to media trials and attacks, all in the bid to build up the contents of a White Paper on the report.
He also said there was no minority report of the panel as being insinuated in some quarters.
Counsel to the state government, Abiodun Owonikoko, had claimed that 40 discrepancies were contained in the report submitted by the Panel.
Responding to the controversy, Adegboruwa said there was no minority report as being claimed by the counsel.
He said the call for the rejection of the report on the excuse that he was not present at all the sittings of the panel was baseless, saying his appointment into the panel was on part-time basis as approved by the governor.
He however advised the governor “to focus on the findings and far-reaching recommendations contained in the report, in order to pursue the laudable objectives of setting up the Panel to achieve true healing and reconciliation, instead of seeking to demonize Panel members and their report or to evade responsibility.”
His statement read: “I have listened to the narratives of the Lagos State Government through one of its Learned Senior Counsel at the #EndSARS Panel, to the effect that Nigerians should reject the report of the Panel because I signed it, since I was not present at some of the sittings of the Panel.
“I served on the Panel on the mandate of the Governor of Lagos State, who told me on telephone that I was chosen to represent CIVIL SOCIETY. I requested for and approval was granted in writing, that my appointment was on a part-time basis.
“I also served on the Panel free of charge, from October 19, 2020 when the Panel was inaugurated till November 15, 2021, when the Panel submitted its report. The government was well aware of my identity, my perspectives, my philosophies and my general convictions, at least since my university days, before it nominated me into the Panel, that I will always say things the way they are. All Panel members acted in good faith, independently and in the fear of God Almighty.
“It is therefore improper for Lagos State Government, through its lawyer that appeared before the Panel and other sponsored agents, to subject the report of the Panel and indeed the integrity of Panel members to media trials and attacks, all in the bid to build up the contents of its White Paper, which we can now reasonably foretell, from these sponsored media attacks.
“It is indeed uncharitable for the same government that urged the Panel not to be held down by strict rules of technicalities of law in order to unravel the real truth about the Lekki Toll Gate Incident, to now through its counsel, talk about alleged legal discrepancies, to frustrate the good work of the Panel that it set up.
“There are documents to back up and defend the report submitted to the Governor by the Panel but I have chosen to defer to His Excellency and to await the White Paper as promised, because I believe that the Governor meant well in setting up the Panel and giving us free hand to operate. I appeal to His Excellency to continue in that note of sincerity.”