The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing atrocities committed by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) on Friday refused to grant an oral application made by #EndSARS protesters’ lawyer, Adesina Ogunlana seeking to summon the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola.
Ogunlana had made the oral request to the panel for Fashola to be invited to come and explain what happened to the camera he was reported by the media and the social media to have found at the Lekki Toll Gate while on visit to the gate along with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and others.
The lawyer, who made the request while cross-examining the Managing Director of the Lekki Concession Company (LCC), operator of the Lekki tollgate , Abayomi Omomuwa, insisted that the visit “suggests an intrusion” into the evidence of the October 20 shootings.
But the panel Chairperson, retired Justice Doris Okuwobi had asked him to make a written request and follow the proper procedure if he wanted Fashola’s appearance before the panel.
Part of the terms of reference of the eight-member panel included probing the alleged killing of protesters by soldiers at the Lekki tollgate on October 20.
Under cross-examination Omomuwa, told the panel that he could not tell how much the LCC lost when the tollgate was occupied by #EndSARS protesters in October.
He said, “I believe that is the business of the company, not something to discuss in public.”
But when further pressed by Ogunlana, Omomuwa said, “It is obvious, when the toll is not collected, revenue is lost?”
When he was asked if he reported the occupation of the tollgate by the #EndSARS protesters to the Lagos State Government, Omomuwa said he does not report to the Lagos State Government, he only reports to the LCC Board of Directors.
The LCC MD further informed the panel that the tollgate was owned by private investors until 2014 when the Lagos State Government acquired it 100 per cent.
He named the directors of LCC, as Commissioner for Finance, Commissioner for transport, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Commissioner for Budget and Economy Planning, Special Assistant World and Infrastructure, two independent directors and himself.
Omomuwa also mentioned the names of Obafemi George and Mrs Olushola Oworu as the two independent directors.
Also at Friday’s proceedings, an #EndSARS protester, Felicia Okpara told the panel she was arrested and beaten up by police during the protest.
Okpara claimed that she had just concluded an interview in the area and was heading back home when she saw the protest in the Surulere area of Lagos State decided to join.
She stated that shortly after, she heard gunshots and people started scampering for safety.
According to her, after running towards a police station, she decided to record the incident but was accosted by a police officer who asked why she was recording and ordered her to stop.
Okpara testified that she refused the order and the said officer pulled out a gun on her while another joined and they both forcefully dragged her and another lady to the police station nearby.
She alleged that when they got to the police station several officers including women started beating and punching them while leading to her losing control and urinating on herself.
She said, “While the beating was going on, I lost control of my body and my phone fell on the ground and one of them used his leg to smash it because he believed I was recording with it and I was going to post it on the internet.
“While we were still at that gate, some were coming out, they joined the beating. Dragged me inside that was where I lost control of my body, I peed on myself. I managed to get a hold of the phone because I knew that was the only thing I had,” Okpara said, fighting back tears.