One of the organizers of the #EndSARS protests, Rino Oduala has withdrawn her membership of the Lagos judicial panel of inquiry on police brutality.
Oduala was nominated as a youth representative on the panel set up to investigate cases of rights abuses by the police following the mass youth protest last October.
In a notice of withdrawal, Oduala cited the decision of the panel directing a reopening of the Lekki toll gate which had been shut since the brutal crackdown on protesters by the army on October 20.
According to her, the “Lagos state government and the private organization which operates the toll gate have not been cleared of collusion with elements allegedly deployed by the Federal Government to target Nigerian citizens on home soil during a time of peace.”
She also suggested an attempt at a cover-up, saying she will not be part of it. “I am proud that I took the invitation because of some of the successes the panel has recorded so far.
“The panel allowed victims of police intimidation and brutality to have their day in the light of justice. They got to expose the violence that was meted out, to experience some catharsis from having the government acknowledge its failures.”
Despite this, Oduala said the successes are merely partial wins and not enough. “I decided to join this fight because I wanted the government to recognise its failures and work to overhaul its security institutions.”
The activist insists the reopening of the toll gate by the panel undermines the feelings of victims of the crackdown, a position she and other activists had openly opposed saying their views were not taken into consideration when the panel ruled on the matter.
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Following the ruling, aggrieved youths have been mobilizing to challenge the reopening of the toll gate on Saturday, February 13, a campaign that has been gaining traction on social media with the #OccupyLekkiTollGate, while counter-protesters have also been carrying out a campaign with the hashtag #DefendLagos.
The Federal Government on Thursday announced that it will not allow a repeat of the protests due to the possibility of it being hijacked. Authorities in Lagos state have also warned against any protest.
Editor: Paul Akhagbemhe