New Telegraph

#EndSARS: Lagos panel awards N10m each to 2 Police brutality victims

The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Restitution and Inquiry set up to investigate cases of police brutality, especially involving officers of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), has begun awarding compensations to petitioners. In a petition involving Mrs. Kudirat Adebayo Abayomi, who was killed by a police stray bullet in April 2017, the panel yesterday recommended the prosecution of the erring police officers, according to an online news portal, Channels Television. They also awarded the sum of N10 million as compensation to the family of the deceased, scholarship for the children, and a letter of apology to the family of the deceased from the police.

The second petitioner, Hannah Olugbode, is a 35-year-old hairdresser, who has been on crutches after her left leg was shattered by a stray bullet fired by some SARS officers around the Ijeshatedo area of Lagos. N10 million was also awarded to her for the stress and anxiety she suffered, and to help her undergo treatment.

This comes months after the panel was set up to ensure justice is served for all victims. Although several cases have been brought before the panel, this is the first major move being made to compensate any victim. Two weeks ago, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi, gave a ruling allowing the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) Ltd to repossess the toll gate – a decision that has been met with diverse views from Nigerians, many of whom are of the opinion that the toll gate should remain closed in honour of those who lost their lives during last year’s #End- SARS protests.

The toll gate had been one of the major converging points for the protesters in Lagos last year and was also the location for the infamous #LekkiShootings, masterminded by security operatives particularly men of the Nigerian Army. Meanwhile, one of the prominent youths in the fight against police brutality and extrajudicial killings in the country, Rinu Oduala, had last week announced her decision to step down from the Judicial Panel. Fresh demonstrations with the hashtag, #OccupyLekki- TollGate, emerged last Saturday in protest of the decision.

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