Nigerian Army Now Agree to Appear Before Lagos Panel
The Nigerian Army had finally acknowledged the invitation of the Lagos State Panel of Inquiry probing the alleged shooting of peaceful #EndSARS protesters by soldiers on October 20 at the Lekki tollgate, and will appear before the panel on Saturday.
The Punch reported sources close to the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel to have confirmed that Saturday (November 7) has been fixed for the Nigerian Army to appear at the hearing taking place at the Lagos Court of Arbitration.
This is a development on the Army’s last week insistence not to appear before the panel on the ground that only the state government has the powers to summon it, an argument Nigerians said was baseless since the panel derived its powers from the state government which institutes it. It was in fact pointed out that the panel was set up with the approval of the National Executive Council, and that the president being the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces cannot endorse a panel and the Army will defy it.
The panel on November 1 had invited the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, whose soldiers were alleged to have carried out the shootings, but the spokesman for Division, Major Osoba Olaniyi, said the army would not honour a summons from the panel as the army believed that it was not the panel’s “duty” to invite the army.
He said the military would only appear before the panel if it received an invitation directly from the Lagos State government, rather than the panel.
He stressed that “If we receive a letter from the state, we will go. Are we not under civil authorities? Are we not part of Nigerians? Have you forgotten that we did not go there (Lekki tollgate) on our own?
Protests against police brutality and the transgressions of a disbanded police special unit called SARS last month attracted global attention when soldiers allegedly shot unarmed protesters.
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