Nigeria: #EndSARS – Absence of Army Officers Stall Lagos Judicial Panel Proceedings

The proceedings of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters was yesterday stalled due to the failure of two army officers, Major-General Umelo and Colonel Bello to appear before the panel.

The two senior military leaders were slated to give evidence before the eight-man panel presided over by Justice Doris Okuwobi, whose mandate extended to the October 20 Lekki shooting.

When the matter was called one of the registrars attached to the panel, Jonathan Ogunsanya, informed it that Colonel Bello allegedly refused to accept service of the summon issued by the panel.

Some #EndSARS protesters had claimed that Col. Bello, allegedly gave the order that soldiers under his command fire blank ammunition into the air when men of the force attacked them at the Lekki toll gate.

Ogunsanya, however, stated that counsel for the Nigerian Army, A. T. Kehinde (SAN), had intervened and accepted the summon on behalf of his clients.

But counsel to the #EndSARS protesters, Adeshina Ogunlana, expressed disappointment at the development, stating that the military is supposed to be under civilian control.

Ogunlana said the supremacy of the law should prevail and urged the panel to use the supreme power of the law and issue a warning along with a new summon to the Nigerian Army.

Justice Okuwobi, in a short ruling, adjourned the hearing to January 8, 2021 and also ordered that Col. Bello should be served his summons through A. T. Kehinde (SAN), counsel to the Nigerian Army.

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