The legal team representing the Nigerian Army said on Monday, the Lagos State judicial panel of inquiry lacked the powers to impose sanctions or punish any soldier found guilty for shooting #EndSARS protesters last month.
The leader of the team, Kehinde Akinlolu (SAN), stated this when he presented a seven-page report to the Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, at the Army Headquarters in Abuja.
He said the Nigerian Army was not under trial over the October 20 shooting of #EndSARS protesters in the Lekki area of Lagos.
Akinlolu added that the army was never summoned by the panel but invited to shed light on what happened at the Lekki tollgate.
He said: “It must also be borne in mind that we were able to establish that the Nigerian Army did not on its own volition set out to intervene in the crisis at the Lekki tollgate.
“The Lekki tollgate happens to be the area of passage to Epe corridors when the Nigerian Army was called upon that ‘look, this matter is getting out of hand’ because we know very well that there are constitutional provisions for the civil authorities to call upon the army to help when the civil police was overwhelmed as it was common knowledge, and that what exactly what happened in Lagos.
“We were able to show the footage, both oral and documentary evidence, and the panel also must bear in mind that it is a fact-finding panel.
“The panel has no capacity to ascribe any punishment or any sentence on anybody. The whole idea of setting up the panel of that nature is to help unravel what went wrong so that in the future, necessary precautions will be taken.”
Buratai, who was represented at the forum by the Nigerian Army Chief of Policy and Plans, Lt. Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, said those who accused the army of deploying troops to shoot innocent protesters at Lekki “must be ready to swallow their pride and apologise to the Force and the country by the time the panel concludes its assignment.”
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