About fifteen hours to the scheduled #OccupyLekkiTollGate protest, Rinu Oduala, youth representative on the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll gate, has stepped down from the panel.
Her argument was that the government was using the panel for ‘performative actions’. Disclosing this on her twitter handle, Rinu opined that: “My stand on the reopening of the toll gate is clear; the state government & the private organisation operating the toll have not been cleared of collusion with elements allegedly deployed by the federal government to target citizens on home soil during a time of peace, without provocation.
“Justice has not been served, and as a representative of the Nigerian citizenry, my only recourse is to stay the course of justice.
“Let me be clear; I chose to honour the invitation to represent my peers and to stand as an example that any Nigerian has the right to demand accountability of elected government officials and that our institutions, however flawed, can still deliver justice.
“What I will not do is be part of a cover-up. I am proud that I took the invitation because some of the successes the panel has recorded so far have been incredibly powerful for the people.
“For the first time, SARS victims have had the opportunity to be truly seen & heard by the government, by the public, & by the system that let them to be victims in the first place.
“The panel allowed victims of police intimidation & brutality to have their day in the light of justice.
“They got to expose the violence that was meted out, to experience some catharsis from having the government acknowledge its failures and, in many cases, are going to be receiving some compensation, however inadequate for the disruption to their lives.
“This is further than we have ever come as a nation, and while this same rigour is not been applied to the case of the Lekki Toll shootings, we can at least celebrate the wins that our brothers and sisters can finally claim in their fight for justice, and recognise that our collective will is more powerful than any institution.
“However, partial wins are not enough for me. I decided to join this fight because I wanted the government to recognise its failures and work to overhaul its security institutions. “I did not expect piecemeal acknowledgements and efforts to sabotage vital proceedings.
“On 6th February 2021, we were ambushed with votes to reopen the toll gates. I participated because I do not believe in silence. It is clear where my loyalties lie.
“But at the end of the day, parties on the panel voted to reopen the toll, citing lost jobs as more important than justice for lost lives through a proceeding that didn’t form a proper quorum without the reps who represent the youth constituency that birthed the idea of the panel, and on whose mandates the panels were set up.
“Coupled with the undue intimidation of peaceful protesters, the cyber attacks accounts loyal to the government, and many more.
“I will be stepping down from the Lagos Judicial Panel as it is now obvious that the government is only out to use us for performative actions.