A non-governmental organisation, Vendors for Positive Change Initiative (VPCI), has submitted a petition before the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS-related Abuses and Other Matters.
It asked the panel to invite all persons and organisations “who promoted fake news” on the alleged killing of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza, Lagos State, on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.
In the petition titled, “PETITION TO INVITE ALL PERSONS AND ORGANISATIONS TO SUBSTANTIATE THEIR CLAIMS ON THE ALLEGED KILLING OF LEKKI #ENDSARS PROTESTERS BEFORE THE PANEL”, the VPCI asked the judiciary panel to invite those who made allegations of killings and ask them to substantiate their claims.
The organisation stated that the activities of “fake news promoters” regarding the Lekki incident threatened the stability of Nigeria and “our collective security as citizens”.
It noted that the presence of those who made the allegations would help the panel “unravel the truth and deliver justice to all concerned”.
“I write on behalf of the promoters and trustees of Vendors Positive Change Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organisation committed to the advancement of the Nigerian nation, to request that your panel extend invitation to all persons and organisations who promoted fake news and falsehood in relation to the alleged and unsubstantiated killing of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos State,” the petition read.
“The petition is submitted in pursuant of our rights as enshrined in Section 36 (2A) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) which “provides for an opportunity for the persons whose rights and obligations may be affected to make representations to the administering authority before that authority makes the decision.”
“It is our considered opinion that the activities of fake news promoters regarding the Lekki incident put to risk the stability of the Nigerian nation and specifically threaten our collective security as citizens.
“As your panel is one that is saddled with the task of delivering restitution in this particular incidental case, it is our belief that there cannot be restitution without justice and fairness.
“We therefore seek that your panel promotes fairness in this matter by extending invitation to all those who made varying degrees of inciting claims regarding what transpired at the Lekki toll gate on Tuesday, 20th October, 2020 including those who claim blank bullets were used to physically appear before your committee and substantiate all they have said or claimed. This, we believe, will help your panel to unravel the truth and deliver justice to all concerned.”
Several printed copies of tweets making allegations on the Lekki incident were submitted alongside the petition on Friday.
The panel was set up by the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to investigate allegations of human rights violations by operatives of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.
But the governor later extended the panel’s terms of reference to include the investigation of the shooting of protesters by men in army uniform.
Although there were allegations of a massacre, there have been only two confirmed deaths as a result of the incident.