A member of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into the Lekki Tollgate Shooting, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has called on youth to shelve the planned protest and counter-protest at the toll gate this Saturday.
Mr Adegboruwa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), made this appeal on Wednesday in a statement.
“The alleged bloodshed, mayhem, repressions and violence of October 2020 in general, should not be encouraged to be repeated again,” he wrote, appealing to youths not to go ahead with the protests.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how Doris Okuwobi, the chairperson of the Judicial Panel returned the control of Lekki Tollgate to the Lekki Concession Company last Saturday.
This, however, stirred controversy at the panel with four out of the nine-man panel expressing dissenting views to the ruling.
Mr Adegboruwa was one of the four members of the Panel that formed the minority group which disagreed with ruling on the reopening of Lekki Tollgate.
The senior lawyer and three others fiercely opposed the ruling of the retired judge heading the panel and four others that Lekki tollgate should be reopened.
Following the repossession order, youths have taken to the social media to express outrage and planned the #occupyLekkitollgate protest against the reopening of the toll gate.
A counter-protest #DefendLagos also surfaced on the social media, on Thursday, with some youth planning to defend Lagos State.
Both the protest and counter-protest will hold at the Lekki Toll Gate on Saturday, February 13, 2021.
Call for Peace
Mr Adegboruwa, in his statement, on Wednesday, appealed that the protest and counter-protest be shelved.
Giving reasons for the call, he said the Judicial Panel of Inquiry was still sitting and yet to make any finding or recommendations on the Lekki Toll Gate Incident of October 20, 2020.
“I’m concerned about the consequences of protests and counter-protests, at the same location, in relation to security and likely violation of COVID 19 protocols, given the rising wave of the pandemic, in Lagos State especially, where most economic, social, educational and other activities, are partially grounded, presently,” the lawyer wrote.
He said although Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution has granted to every person the right to freedom of expression, and freedom to hold opinions, it must be done with caution.
“The Panels of Inquiry that were set up were all done in response to the EndSARS five for five demands. It will be good to await the decisions of these Panels.
“A protest or counter-protest at this time, may work to jeopardize the overall work of the Panel, the witnesses appearing or to appear, the testimonies, the investigations or even affect its ultimate assignment,” he said.
The senior lawyer added that the ruling of the chairperson of the panel and the dissenting ruling of other members of the panel are interlocutory decisions, which will be collated for necessary action.
He said the investigation of the Lekki shooting incident which is yet to be concluded should not be the basis for renewed calls for protest and counter-protest.
“It is safer for now, for the Lagos State Government and its agencies, the EndSARS group and indeed all those concerned with the Lekki Toll Gate Incident, to await the final report of the Panel,” he wrote.
While urging the youth to put the planned protests on hold, the lawyer appealed to all security agencies, especially the police and the army, to embrace caution and demonstrate utmost respect for the fundamental rights of all citizens, including protesters, counter-protesters and non-protesters alike.
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