Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos state, has spoken for the first time about the report of the Lagos judicial panel on police brutality.
The report of the panel was leaked shortly after it was submitted to the Lagos state government on November 15.
The findings and recommendations of the panel further deepened the controversy over the killing of protesters at Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020.
Speaking during a press conference on Tuesday, the governor said the leak of the “unauthorised version” of the report reopened a deep wound and “generated much tension”.
“In the aftermath of what happened on October 20, 2020, I decided to expand the mandate of the Panel to include investigating what really happened at the Lekki Tollgate that night,” he said.
“As a matter of good faith and a sincere commitment to uncovering the truth, we constituted a panel of individuals that we believed were independent, credible, and representative of the various stakeholder community interested in the movement against police brutality.
“Apart from the Chairman of the panel being a respected retired jurist, various stakeholders including the youths, #EndSars protesters, the police and civil society groups were represented on the panel.
“I am sure no member of the panel can claim that the state government made any attempt to influence them in any way throughout the duration of its sitting.
“While I commend the panel for undertaking its task to the best of its abilities, it is however regrettable that the panel’s work and the leakage of an unauthorized version of the report have generated much tension. Sadly, a deep wound has been reopened.
“The heated exchanges among various shades of opinion on the report have unfortunately put us all at the risk of missing the larger picture; the fact that what we all seek in common is a land in which we are all safe and secure, law enforcement agents are trusted, and justice is guaranteed for all.
“As I have stated earlier, we have no intention to engage in histrionics or further inflame passion on a matter that has generated intense interest and controversy nationally and internationally. Our decisions and actions will be based entirely on the law, the weight of evidence and an unblemished respect for the truth.”
The governor said no state “took the advocacy for police reforms and justice in the face of documented brutality more seriously” than Lagos, adding that N420 million in compensation have so far been paid to victims of police brutality.
The committee constituted to come up with a white paper on the recommendations of the panel is expected to submit its findings later on Tuesday.