EndSARS Report: Again ‘Visible Biases’ On Military Officers Identified In Lagos Panel’s Recommendation

Security experts who have ‘carefully’ studied the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS-Related Abuses and Other Matters,” have identified some recommendations that appeared to be ‘partisan’ against some selected military officers who played similar roles during Lekki saga.

Having impartially x-rayed the 309-page report, they described the recommendations, as ‘biases’ with potentially negative implications on relationships among officers in the security sector.

The Lagos State’s EndSARS panel report was submitted to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu by the Chairman of the panel, by Justice Doris Okuwobi, a retired judge on Monday.

One of them, who spoke to PRNigeria said: “I think some of the recommendations appear contradictory. For instance, in the second paragraph of on page 305, the panel recommends disciplinary actions to Lt. Col. S. O Bello and Maj. Gen. Godwin Umelo for refusing to honour the summons of the panel but the panel did not recommend the same punishment for another military officer, Major General Omata who also did not appear.

“Then, going to its third recommendations on the same page, which reads: “All officers,(excluding Major General Omata) and men of the Nigerian Army that were deployed to the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, should be made to face disciplinary action, stripped of their status, and dismissed as they are not fit and proper to serve in any public or security service.

“But the question is why did the panel exclude General Omota? Did the panel ‘absolved’ General Omata, who was also allegedly deployed to the Tollgate, with other men of the Nigerian Army? If General Omata was at the scene of the Lekki incident, then should it not be that he is recommended for the disciplinary action by the panel, who had reeled out the kind of punishments they want for other men of the army who were also there, together with Omata?

Another expert, who spoke to PRNigeria said it would be unfair for him to question the credibility of the EndSARS panel report entirely, however, said the report has many parts, together with some of its recommendations that leave room for ‘objective minds’ to doubt.

“For instance, the Committee recommended that officers and men of the Nigerian Army that were deployed to the Lekki Tollgate on October 20, 2020, except Maj. Gen. Omata, should be made to face appropriate disciplinary action, stripped of their status and dismissed from service, among other things.

“But this same general Omata, who the panel recommended that he be spared, while others punished, is among the officers present at the Lekki Tollgate on the day of the alleged shooting.

“Again, on page 17 of the report, we noticed that the same Gen. Omata, together with some other military senior officers, shunned the summon of the panel to appear before it, while the panel was conducting its hearing on the EndSARS revolt in Lagos, last year.

“This recommendation can easily create mistrust among the officers even when none could have personally honoured any invitation from anyone without the authorisation from the military hierarchy of command. 

“It is quite worrisome that a civil panel of a state could just recommend the dismissal of soldiers including their drivers for obeying simple orders from military commanders.

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