YOUTH representatives on the Lagos judicial panel walked away from proceedings today in response to the federal government’s bad faith by getting the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to freeze the accounts of suspected #EndsSARS protest leaders.
Following a month-long nationwide protest against the brutality of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (Sars) police unit, the government came under intense criticism. After being forced to scrap Sars, the government decided to end the protests forcefully, sending soldiers to shoot innocent protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, leading to international condemnation and sparking nationwide riots.
Reeling from the bloody nose it got during the protests, the federal government has decided to clampdown on protesters and has already announced plans to restrict the use of social media across Nigeria. Earlier this week, pharmacist, Bassey Israel, who was in charge of the #EndSARS medical team in Port Harcourt, said his account with Access Bank had remained frozen since October 15.
Incensed at this act of bad faith, the youth representatives appointed on to the judicial panel of inquiry in Lagos State, refused to sit in on today’s proceedings. Among other thing, the Lagos State inquiry will probe the Lekki Toll Gate shootings and several complaints of human rights abuses against members of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) police unit.
Earlier this week, the CBN obtained a court order to freeze the bank accounts of Adegoke Pamilerin and Bolatito Oduala, popularly known as Rinu alongside 17 others linked with the #EndSARS protests. as a result of the youths walking out, the panel will now reconvene on November 14 while the bank freeze is sorted out.
#EndSARS protester and Anakle chief executive Editi Effiong, said: “The youth panel members are not here today. They’re pulling out in protest as one of the members’ Rinu’s bank account was frozen by the CBN.
“The panel will have to adjourn, while that is resolved. The various legal teams representing the Lagos State Government, Nigerian Army, #EndSARS and others are responding to the boycott.”
“Another #EndSARS protester added: We are embarrassed for Nigeria that the government invited youth to the panel and on another hand is punishing them.”