#ENDSARS Shooting: Nigerian Army Fails To Appear Before Lagos Panel

Shola Soyele  
Updated January 23, 2021
(FILE) Members of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution at a sitting on November 28, 2020.


The Nigerian Army has again failed to appear before the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for victims of SARS and other related matters.

It’s the third time they’ve failed to honour the summons of the panel for officers involved in the shooting to explain what happened at the Lekki toll gate on the 20th of October 2020.

At today’s proceedings, Counsel to the panel, Jonathan Ogunsanya confirmed that summons were sent to three army officers.

“Summons was sent to Colonel Bello. The second summons was served on Major General Godwin Umelo, the General Officer Commanding 81 Division, Lagos and Ogun State of the Nigerian Army, Victoria Island.
The third summon was issued and served on Brigadier General Francis Ogbaje Omata of the Nigerian Army, Obalende Barracks”.

The counsel then tendered the summons for the panel to view.

Counsel to the #ENDSARS protesters, Adesina Ogunlana has asked the panel to summon the counsel on record for the Nigerian Army, Akinlolu Kehinde (SAN) to respond to the summons and the failure of the army officers to appear.

But the counsel to the panel, Jonathan Ogunsanya told the panel that Mr Akinlolu Kehinde (SAN) has said that he is no longer representing the Nigerian Army and any effort to get him to appear before the panel may not have legal backing.

The Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi has ordered that a letter should be issued to the counsel on record for the army, Mr Akinlolu Kehinde (SAN) to appear before the panel at the next adjourned date to explain why he would not conclude the case of the Nigerian Army.

“I must reiterate and state that this is a fact-finding panel and not the regular courts where counsel can decide the choice of witnesses they want to present in their case. The summons to those military officers had become necessary for other parties to hear their evidence and cross-examine them if necessary. It behoves on Mr Kehinde to assist the panel to achieve this task in the course of the investigation of the Lekki incident. He is needed to conclude this part of his brief. For the other victim-related petitions which are 14 against the Army, I implore the military authority to appear and present their defence so that no issue of denial of fair hearing will arise when the panel’s report is submitted to government”.

All matters involving the Nigerian Army were then adjourned till the 30th Jan, 2021.