The Lagos State Chapter of the People’s Democratic Party PDP has called on the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to institute a seperate inquest into the recent happenings that led to the death and injury of some peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll gate.
The crystallization for this comes under the #LagYouthsLivesMatter Movement.
Engr Adedeji Doherty released a press statement in which, he commended the Sanwo-Olu led government for inaugurating the Judicial panel of inquiry and Restitution into abuses by the Special Anti-Robbery squad (SARS).
The terms of reference of the Judicial panel included:
To listen to and take evidences from all victims or the families of victims of SARS abuse within Lagos.
To determine the compensation payable and immediately issue a cheque in favour of the victims or their dependents.
To determine the officers responsible and recommend the prosecution of such persons.
To recommend to government, how to ensure that the Police and all security agencies never abuse the rights of citizens again.
To compel and summon witnesses to appear before it.
However, after so much pressure from several quarters, Governor Sanwo-Olu expanded the terms of reference for the judicial panel of inquiry and Restitution to include the incident at the Lekki toll gate.
The Lagos State PDP Chairman, Engr Doherty however faulted the Lagos State Government for adding the Lekki toll gate saga into the terms of reference of the panel, stating that it seems to be a ploy to circumvent , trivialize and cover up the incidences that happened at the Lekki toll gate.
He stated that from the trend of proceedings at the panel where only about one or two cases are attended to each day, there is the very likelihood that giving the time frame of the panel sitting, issues surrounding the happenings would not be comprehensively attended to.
He further stated that the separate inquest should not only look into Lekki incident, but incidences that happened all around the state in places like Mushin, Ojodu/Berger, Ikeja, Ikorodu where unreported incidences also occurred.
He said “The Panel constituted at the moment would only trivialize the importance of the Protest and as well send in clear terms that the Lives of our Youths or any other Nigerian does not matter”.
“Allowing this public perception to sip through the minds of our people would only worsen the already damaged trust Nigerians have in Government at this point and time”.
He said the inquest should look into how #Endsars protest that commenced peacefully was later infiltrated by hoodlums reportedly hired by unknown persons.
The terms of reference of the seperate inquest should also include but not limited to how the initial introduction of anti-riot police men escalated to the introduction of the Army.
The Lagos State PDP, would also want the proposed inquest to come in form of a public hearing for all and sundry to see and with the official participation of reputable and non biased organizations like the NBA, NMA, some Human Rights Organisations ,a Private internationally recognized security outfit and certainly the Amnesty International Group as an observer.
The introduction of this Inquest Panel would not only give the present Government the credibility it is loosing fast but will also give hope and confidence to the generation that have been directly affected by this major inconceivable occurrence.
The PDP Chairman said “Personally I believe that the perception of Lagosians, especially those who believe that the outcome of the Panel of enquiry has already been predetermined needs to be corrected as allowing this perception to go unchecked would not do justice to the lives of the innocent souls that have paid the ultimate price because they agitated for what rightful should be given to them Democratically”.
The Lagos State PDP strongly believes that the circumstances that led to the death and injury of persons during the #EndSars protests should not be lumped up with issues of abuses and human rights infringement by the Special Anti-Robbery squad (SARS) which had been a reoccurring unattended infraction over a long period of time.
As a matter of fact it is common knowledge that this dastardly incident was not committed by members of the Police Force who the protest was directed at.
The Lagos State PDP finally requested Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu to take this unusual opportunity to leave a Legacy of Hope, and one that will show that he cares for Lagosians by dismantling the Lekki Tollgate immediately as the continuous collection of tollgate fees by the Lagos state Government on Intercity Roads only shows that this Government is totally insensitive to the hardship and Economic discomfort of its citizens.
The Chairman Finally put the APC led Government on notice by saying “The Lagos State PDP hereby puts the Governor Sanwo Olu led APC Government on notice, that, if they do not heed to the demands of the youths and dismantle the various Tollgates in Lagos State especially the Lekki tollgate immediately, The PDP we would do it and more come 2023 when we take over the helms of affairs in Lagos State”