Rinu Oduala, a youth representative on the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing alleged killing of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll gate last October has stepped down from the panel.
She made the disclosure on Friday in a piece, ‘Let’s stay the course of justice, partial wins are not enough’.
The activist, who faulted the planned reopening of the Lekki toll gate, maintained that justice has not been served to victims of the Lekki shootings of October 20, 2020.
The PUNCH had reported that the panel, last Saturday, decided to hand over the tollgate back to its operators, Lekki Concession Company, after forensic experts submitted their report on the October 20, 2020 incident.
Four members of the panel including Oduala faulted the decision of the panel but the chairman of the panel, retired Justice Doris Okuwobi, and four other members of the panel acceded to LCC’s request to repossess the toll gate.
Subsequently, hashtags such as #OccupyLekkiTollgate and counter-protest hashtags such as #DefendLagos and #DemNoBornYourPapaWell trended online.
Both protests are slated for Saturday but the Federal Government, the Lagos State Government and the Nigeria Police Force have warned against any form of protest in the Lekki toll gate area or any part of the state.
In the piece today, Oduala said, “My stand on the reopening on the toll gate is clear; the state government and the private organisation operating the toll have not been cleared of collusion with elements allegedly deployed by the federal govt to target citizens on home soil during a time of peace, without provocation.
“Justice has not been served, and as a representative of the Nigerian citizenry, my only recourse is to stay the course of justice.
“On 6th February 2021, we were ambushed with votes to reopen the toll gates. I participated because I do not believe in silence. It is clear where my loyalties lie.
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“But at the end of the day, parties on the panel voted to reopen the toll, citing lost jobs as more important than justice for lost lives through a proceeding that didn’t form a proper quorum without the reps who represent the youth constituency that birthed the idea of the panel, and on whose mandates the panels were set up.
“Coupled with the undue intimidation of peaceful protesters, the cyber attacks accounts loyal to the government, and many more, I will be stepping down from the Lagos Judicial Panel as it is now obvious that the government is only out to use us for performative actions.
“We must not forget the purpose of this panel: to address injustice and create accountability for the SARS brutality and for the heinous events on 20th October 2020.
“When calls for justice are subsumed by commercial concerns and vested interests, it calls into question the legitimacy and integrity of the entire affair and the impartiality of the proceedings. Without a final panel report or actionable steps, we are returning to the status quo.”
- The Punch