Friday, November 6, 2020 2:46 pm
By Taiwo Okanlawon
It has been a day of drama at the Lagos State Judicial Panel On Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters.
The drama, which began immediately the panel began its sitting on Friday, culminated in the decision of the chairperson of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi (retired) to allow the viewing of nearly 20 hours CCTV footage submitted by Lekki Concession Company (LCC).
The footage had earlier been submitted as part of the exhibits in the ongoing investigation into alleged shooting of protesters at Lekki tollgate on Tuesday, 10 October by soldiers.
It is believed that the footages may help clear controversies over the presence of soldiers at the Lekki tollgate or indeed, if any of the protester was shot that day.
LCC had earlier indicated that its cameras stopped recording events at the tollgate which protesters had taken over for about two weeks at about 8.30 pm on that Tuesday.
At the Panel on Friday, the disposition earlier in the day was to watch about two or three hours of the footage, especially recordings close to the time of alleged arrival of soldiers at the tollgate.
But Justice Okuwobi approved the viewing of the entire footage after Adesina Ogunlana who had earlier presented himself as the legal representative of the #EndSARS protesters demanded so.
The lawyer, who was joined by his other colleagues, said this was to ensure that the footage was not tampered with.
This was also after initial drama and opposition of I. J Okechukwu, a lawyer for the government that #EndSARS is not a legal entity, faceless and cannot be represented at the panel.
“There is no entity called “EndSARS protesters”.
“My learned friend is entitled to represent anybody that is known to law. We cannot have anybody appearing for a body that is not known to law, no leader, no structure.
EndSARS protesters is a nebulous entity,” said Okechukwu.
Rotimi Seriki, counsel for the Lekki Concession Company, (LLC), aligned with the government lawyer.
He also said the LCC was not an “interested party” in the matter, but invited because “the panel that feels it might have relevant evidence to assist it”.
“We cannot allow every Tom, Dick, and Harry to represent,” he concluded.
But Ogunlana retorted that he did not just appear at the panel without prior instruction of his clients.
He went on to call out three persons, whom he said were part of protesters and had hired him to represent them.
They are Victoria Oniru, Dabira Ayuku, and Perpetual Kamsiyuchukwu.
Consequently, the chairman of the panel approved the appearance of the EndSARS protesters’ lawyers