By Moji Eniola
The Nigerian Army has said that they have not received any formal petition over their alleged shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on Oct. 20.
The counsel for the Nigerian Army, Mr Akinlolu Kehinde (SAN), made the assertion on Saturday before the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses ad Other Matters.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Brig.-Gen. Ahmed Taiwo was called to give evidence on behalf of the Nigerian Army on the events of Oct. 20.
“I must submit today that there is no allegation whatsoever against the Nigerian Army before this panel.
“I urge your lordship to discountenance any proposal that the testimony of the Nigerian Army should not be allowed because of a proposed petition.
“Unfortunately for reasons known to most of us, the Nigerian Army could not give their testimony when they were summoned on the last adjourned date. It is a very respectable organisation.
“The Nigerian Army is here again ready to testify, and they have set up their projector and is ready to discharge the summons.
“I repeat, as at six minutes to 11am today, no petition has been served against the Nigerian Army, if any petition has been served, we will respond,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika(SAN) the counsel representing seven #EndSARS protesters had said that he had been unable to make a formal claim on behalf of his clients before the panel.
Olumide-Fusika said that the panel’s Terms of Reference only covered matters relating to the Nigerian Police and the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and that his complaint is against the Nigerian Army.
He also noted that the panel must be set up by a legal instrument and apart from the tweets from the Lagos State Governor Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu stating that a panel will be established.
“We applied for the copy of the instrument establishing the panel by the governor, but we were refused on the ground that freedom of information Act does not apply to Lagos State.
“We applied here this morning and the secretary said there is no authority that states that it should be granted to us,” Olumide-Fusika said.
He sought the panel’s directive as to whether the Nigerian Army should give evidence during proceedings because according to him, “their presence here today is not mature”.
Meanwhile, the head of the nine-man panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi (Rtd) in a ruling stated that the alleged shootings at Lekki covered the panel’s Terms of Reference.
“The Lekki incident was not covered by the original instrument of the panel and it was amended on Oct. 21 to include the Lekki incident.
“The amended instrument is a public document which should not be shrouded in mystery, I have a copy here with me if Mr Olumide-Fusika pleases,”Okuwobi said. (NAN)