By Muhaimin Olowoporoku
The Nigerian Army has for the fourth time refused to honour the summons served by the Lagos State Judicial panel probing the October 20, Lekki Toll Gate shooting of peaceful #EndSARS protesters.
The army despite appearing before the panel initially, has stopped attending proceedings.
On Saturday, the proceeding took another twist as counsel to the Nigerian Army, Kehinde Akinlolu (SAN) sent a message to the panel through another lawyer, Samuel Agweh.
Mr. Agweh said the army disbanded its legal team on 21 November 2020.
He said the Akinlolu-led team did not have the mandate to represent the army in subsequent proceedings since then.
Counsel to some #EndSars protesters, Adeshina Ogunlana, however, argued that the refusal of the army to honour the summons will set a precedent, as civilians can also refuse to honour summons.
This, he said, would eventually frustrate the efforts of the panel.
He asked the panel to sanction army officers who refuse to honour summons.
Justice Doris Okuwobi in her reaction said that there is nothing the panel can do if the army decides to snub summons.
She said petitions involving them would be heard, nevertheless.
“All other petitions affecting the Nigerian army where complaints have been made against them, have been forwarded to the chief of army staff with summons,” she said.
Justice Doris, during the last hearing, said that today, Saturday, January 30, was going to be the last adjournment date for the army and no further adjournment would be given for them to appear.
At this stage, Kayode Enitan, Lagos State counsel appealed that since there is a change in leadership of the Nigerian army, they should be given another chance, and all cases involving them be adjourned one more time.
Mr. Enitan further urged the panel to serve fresh summons to the office of the Chief Of Army Staff.
He noted that recommendations made at that point will make the public see that the army was given enough time.
Justice Doris Okuwobi adjourned all petitions involving the army till February 27 for hearing.