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#EndSARS: Lagos Judicial Panel Split Over Reopening of Lekki Tollgate

A judicial panel set up to investigate alleged police brutality and the shooting of protesters launches in Lagos, Nigeria October 26, 2020. REUTERS/Libby George

There was drama on Saturday at the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters, as panel members were split five in favour and four against, on the order directing the LCC to take possession of the Lekki tollgate.

While five members of the panel sat over the application of LCC to repossess the tollgate and listened to submissions from the LCC, Lagos State Government and #EndSARS protesters’ counsels, the other four members of the panel abstained from sitting, only to emerge from the inner chamber to read their dissenting judgement on the matter.

The four dissenting panel members were Ebun Olu- Adegboruwa, Olorunrinu Oduala, Temitope Majekodunmi and Patience Patrick Udoh, while those with the majority judgement of five were led by the panel chairman, Justice Doris Okuwobi (Rtd), Taiwo Lakanu DIG (Rtd.), Lucas Koyejo, Segun Awosanya and Mrs. Oluwatoyin Odusanya.

The action of the four dissenting panel members were disputed by Mr. Rotimi Seriki (SAN), counsel for LCC and Mr. Olukayode Enitan (SAN) counsel for Lagos State Government, who prevented Mr. Olu-Adegboruwa from reading his personal dissenting judgement as they accused him of being an interested party in the matter having sued the Lagos State Government over the Lekki tollgate in the past.

 Their argument made Mr. Olu-Adegboruwa to step down from reading his dissenting opinion, following which a shouting match ensued.

The action of the dissenting panel members made the panel to adjourn all other cases slated for mention on Saturday.

The tollgate has been under the control of the panel since it began sitting in October following the #EndSARS protests.

LCC, through its counsel, Seriki, had earlier prayed the panel to allow it to take over the plaza for repair and insurance claims since December 2020.

“My humble request is that if the tribunal doesn’t have further need to visit the plaza, the LCC should be permitted to take back possession of the toll plaza for the purpose of evaluation of the damage and commence the process of carrying out necessary repairs,” he had said.

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