The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, announced during a live address held at the State House, Marina, on Monday, October 19, 2020, that he has sworn in a seven-man Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution to investigate cases of brutality and human rights violations committed by operatives of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the State.
This move is, however, part of the steps being taken by the Lagos Government to address the five-point demands of the youths demonstrating against SARS brutality and the swearing-in comes a few days after the governor last Thursday set up the judicial panel to investigate cases of brutality and human rights violations by the dissolved unit.
The panel, which is being headed by retired Justice Doris Okuwobi, will sit for six months and is mandated to thoroughly investigate all verifiable claims of abuses and fatalities arising from SARS engagement with the objective to bring erring officers to justice and get compensation for the victims.
The panel members have three individuals representing Civil Society, one person representing a security agency, and one person representing the Government. Human Rights Commission and protesters are also expected to nominate their representatives before the panel commences sitting next week.
Other panel members are Mr Ebun Adegboruwa, SAN (representing the Civil Society), Taiwo Lakanu (a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police), Ms Patience Udoh (representing the Civil Society), Mr Segun Awosanya (Human Rights Activist), Mrs Olutoyin Odusanya (Director, Lagos Citizens Mediation Center), as well as a representative of the youth-led protest and a representative of the Human Rights Commission.
The Governor also set aside N200 million Trust Fund for the compensation of victims and families of those who died in the course of SARS’ activities.
The developments, Sanwo-Olu said, were part of the agreements reached the Thursday meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) presided over by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and which had all Governors in attendance.
Sanwo-Olu also mentioned that the State Government has set up a help desk for the public complaints and petitions to the panel. Lagos residents, who have petitioned against SARS, can reach the help desk on the numbers: 0901 051 3203, 0901 051 3204, and 0901 051 3205.