Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has received in audience, Justice Doris Okuwobi (rtd), chairman of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution set up to investigate cases of brutality and human rights violations committed by operatives of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the State.
Okuwobi’s visit to the Governor came ahead of the swearing-in of the panel members in Alausa and their inaugural sitting at the LASWA Building on Falomo Road in Ikoyi.
The meeting, held behind closed doors, was attended by the Attorney General of the State, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, and Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso.
The discussion in the meeting, it was gathered, focused on improvement in the composition of the panel membership and expectations of members of the public in the discharge of the panel’s duties.
After the meeting, Justice Okuwobi declined to speak with reporters. But, Gov. Sanwo-Olu said the meeting was necessary to intimate the panel chairman on new developments and expectations of the Government.
The Governor disclosed that the membership slot reserved for the youth had been increased to two, saying the move was to ensure young people, who are mostly the victims of SARS brutality, had strong voice and contributions in the panel’s activities.
Sanwo-Olu said: “The panel will commence its sitting next Monday after the official swearing-in of its members in Alausa. We expect members of the public who have complaints against SARS operatives will approach the panel and bring forward their claims.
“It is also important to mention that we have increased the expected nomination from the youth. At the announcement of the panel two days ago, we asked the youth to bring forward one representative. We have increased the youth representation to two.
“I understand there is a process which the youth are using to nominate their representatives, which is very good. We will be expecting them to forward the names of their nominees to us before Monday. We believe that the increment in youth representation will further enrich the composition of the panel and diversity of the panel’s recommendations.”
Sanwo-Olu said the venue of the panel’s sitting was purposely chosen to create room for large occupancy should there be a high number of complainants. He said the help desk lines specifically created to reach the panel members would be opened for calls from Monday.
He urged members of the public who had valid cases of brutality, human rights violations, and extra-judicial killings to approach the panel for justice and compensation.
Other members of the panel include 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), and a representative of the Human Rights Commission.