Panel to Probe Police Brutality Starts in Lagos

October 27, 2020
  • Panel to also investigate the shooting of unarmed protesters
  • Shots fired at protesters in Lagos killed at least 12: Amnesty
  • Two people died at Lekki Toll Gate Incident: Sanwo-olu

A Nigerian judicial panel appointed to probe police brutality in Lagos, the country’s commercial capital and biggest city, started sitting with a brief that includes identifying gunmen in military uniforms that fired on demonstrators last week.

The first person to testify in front the panel said that police officers of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) tortured him and extracted two of his teeth after arresting him in 2014.

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The alleged atrocities triggered mass protests across Nigeria under the hashtag #EndSars, forcing President Muhammadu Buhari to disband the hated unit.

Lagos state Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said that the scope of the panel has been expanded to include the shooting at the Lekki toll gate on 20 October

Two youth protesters were appointed into the panel to reflect “the commitment of Lagos to justice and compensation for the victims of police brutality,” said state Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

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The body will investigate allegations of abuse, torture and extra-judicial killings by the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, the unit whose excesses sparked the protests that started Oct. 5. Apart from evaluating complaints, the panel also is expected to recommend officers deserving of prosecution for their crimes, according to the governor.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari expressed support for the establishment of the Lagos panel, saying on Twitter that he expected it to “help ensure justice is done on behalf of the peaceful protesters and law enforcement agents who sadly lost their lives.”

At least 51 civilians and 18 members of the security forces died in protest-related violence. Twelve people died after troops opened fire on crowds that gathered at two sites in Lagos on Oct. 20 in defiance of a state curfew, according to Amnesty International.

WHAT WE KNOW now about Last Tuesday Lekki Toll Gate incident:-

  • Were the army at Lekki Toll Gate? YES
  • Did the army shoot at Lekki Toll Gate? YES
  • Were protesters injured at Lekki Toll Gate? YES, about 50 protesters were injured
  • Did any protester die at Lekki Toll Gate? Possibly yes
  • How many people died at Lekki Toll Gate? We don’t know
  • Lagos State governor Sanwo Olu says two protesters died at Lekki; One from head trauma, the Other from gun wound

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