Due Process Not Followed In EndSARS’ Report – CDS
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, has faulted the manner in which the report of the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the EndSARS protests was leaked to the public, without following due process.
He said the military authorities were yet to receive the report and urged Nigerians not to judge the armed forces harshly.
Irabor said the military is a professional organisation discharging its duties in line with international rules of engagement and respect for human rights.
General Irabor spoke yesterday on the issue with journalists at the Government House, Benin City in Edo State after a meeting with Governor Godwin Obaseki.
The panel, headed by a retired judge, Doris Okuwobi, had on Monday submitted its reports on the Lekki shooting and police brutality during the October 2020 EndSARS protests to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
After receiving the report, the governor set up a four-member committee to look into it within two weeks and “bring forward the white paper that would be considered at the Lagos State Executive Council and presented as the white paper coming from the panel of inquiry.”
The report was, however, leaked to the public by a member of the panel, due to trust issues.
The report indicted the Nigerian Army, the police and other complicit individuals in the killings at the Lekki tollgate.
Reacting to the leakage of the report, Irabor said he could not, at the moment, comment on the content of the document, because he had not seen the official one.
He said the Nigerian Armed Forces are committed to their constitutional mandate and do not engage in ignoble acts.
“I am sure those of you in the media must have seen a report that was released through, in my view, a wrong channel, that is making the rounds in the social media.
“Whether it is a true report, I can’t tell. But I’d like to indicate that the normal procedure is to have such a report submitted to the convening authority. And then, there will be a white paper that will be presented, based on which one can make informed comments.
“But whatever it is currently, I’d like to indicate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is a professional armed force. We are peopled by Nigerians and we remain committed to the constitutional mandate. So we will not at this point think that Nigerians should make disparaging remarks regarding the Armed Forces of Nigeria, in the sense that we are professional armed forces. If there are issues, of course, we address them within the ambit of the provisions.
“It would not be right to disparage men and women who have worked so hard to ensure that the territorial integrity of this nation is kept intact. So in the meantime, until I see the full extent of the report…”