Youth representatives on the Lagos State government judicial panel established to carry out investigations over alleged shooting incidences at the Lekki Tollgate have disagreed over the decision to reopen the tollgate for operations.
The Justice Doris Okuwobi led panel granted approval for the return of tollgate to the control of Lekki Concession Company (LCC).
The two youth representatives on the panel, Rinu Oduala and Tope Majekodunmi in statement released after the panel announcement, said their views were not reflected in the panel ruling.
They jointly stated that, the decision of the panel was capable of hindering the successful completion of ongoing investigation on the incident.
In a statement released they said “The Youth Reps at the Lagos judicial panel of inquiry and restitution for victims of SARS related abuses & Lekki Toll Gate Incident will like to formally express our dissent to the Order allowing for the repossession of Lekki Toll Gate,”
The further stated that “We’d like to remind the public this panel was set up on our 5 For 5 demands during the nationwide protests against police brutality. So any decision without considering the opinions of the Youth Reps reflected in the rulings will be in violation of Rules setting up this Panel”.
“We have made efforts to communicate our position on the application by LCC to take repossession of the Lekki Toll Gate to the Chairlady as required by the Rules of the Panel but our dissent wasn’t reflected in the ruling.”
They reiterated that their position is in line with panel’s obligation of ensuring impartiality throughout hearings for victims and contribute to fair, effective, efficient conduct of its hearings and more importantly, for voices of victims not be silenced in the course of this assignment.
They stated that the LCC has refused to provide critical information meant for the completion of forensic report.
They posited that it was only logically fair, that the Lekki toll gate should remain shut and under the purview of the panel until full investigations and hearings are concluded.
Their statement further read that “We understand from the Forensic Report submitted by the expert employed by the panel, LCC management has, despite requests, failed to provide information, which include access to servers; who ordered the extraction of CCTV footage; date & time of extraction of the footage from the CCTV; method used for the extraction as well as such other information which may be useful for purposes of the forensic examination & report.”
“None of these have been provided by LCC and so it is impossible to conclude that investigations are over. It is therefore imperative that the Lekki Toll Gate management should not allowed to repossess the toll gate until full investigations are concluded.
“This is especially important as victims of the Lekki Toll Incident are yet to be heard and the public is still in the dark on the full details of the Incidence.
“Based on these fact, we are of the considered view that the Lekki Toll Gate remain shut and under the purview of the Panel until full investigations and hearings are concluded by this Panel.
“We do not have any intention to obstruct the rulings of the panel. We only want our dissent to be on record. We are committed to ensuring justice for victims.”