The Judicial Panels of Inquiry set up across Nigeria to investigate the excesses of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies have continued sittings in these 4 states in the month under review – Abia, Cross River, Lagos, and Oyo. This is an additional month to the 6 months officially stipulated by the National Economic Council (NEC), after the directive to establish Judicial Panels of Inquiry across Nigeria to investigate complaints of police brutality and extra-judicial killings, which ended in April 2021.
As of May 2021, sixteen (16) states from among the twenty-nine (29) states and the FCT where Judicial Panels of Inquiry have been established had completed their hearings - namely Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Katsina, Kwara, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, Rivers and Taraba. However, only two (2) states, namely Kwara and Niger, have submitted and publicly presented the report of the Panel to the state government for implementation of their recommendations. A total of 2,791 petitions have been submitted across the 29 states and the FCT, with only Kogi State still accepting petitions.
On Saturday, May 22 , a witness of the alleged Lekki shooting presented his testimony to the panel. According to him, he saw men of the Nigerian Army open fire on the protesters. He counted no fewer than 10 dead bodies, which the men of the Nigerian Army carted away in a van. He further presented an X-ray result, alleging that he was shot in the chest. This evidence was admitted by the Panel.
Yiaga Africa and EiE Nigeria’s observation of the Panels of Inquiry will continue to provide information to promote transparency and accountability and build citizens' confidence in the process.