#EndSARS Judicial Panel Report: We want Justice or Justice!

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*We reject the white “washing” paper!!

*We reject all superficial talk of peace without justice!!!

At a press briefing on Wednesday 1 December, the Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwoolu announced the release of a white paper on the #EndSARS judicial panel report. Similarly, Mr. Sanwoolu said “… the leak of the “unauthorized” version of the judicial panel report reopened a deep wound”. We need not remind Mr. governor that authority is given by law and not the prerogative of an individual. The judicial panel was duly and legally constituted even though we understand it can never be enough to do justice to the massacre of peaceful protesters in which the State was involved and clearly indicted. Also, the panel was a public panel, the matter of #EndSARS protests and police brutality are of public interest, hence it is a matter of duty to release the report of the panel to the public. 

If Mr governor must claim that the judicial panel report which was made available by the Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel was unauthorized, then he must provide for us the authorised version of the report. 

Clearly, the governor cannot tell us the white paper is the authorized report! a white paper has to be developed from a conclusive and comprehensive report of a panel constituted for that purpose. More importantly, is that the white paper has no legal basis, it simply reflects the opinion of Mr. Sanwoolu and cohorts. They have demonstrated such opinions with their roles in the #EndSARS protest, their reactions to the judicial panel report and attempts to rewrite the events which unfolded before us. The white paper only documents those reactions and lies, it should be deposited on the dump heap of history.

The governor said the release of the panel report reopened a deep wound, here the governor clearly contradicts what they’d have us believe with their “no massacre” claptrap. While I perhaps for the first time agree with Mr Sanwoolu that the killings and continuous incarceration of legitimate protesters leave a deep wound on us, but it was never closed. The sustained gaslighting by the State and unending police killing and brutality continuously remind us that we are under systemic attacks. 

It is important to point out that healing cannot be wished into being and it cannot be abstract. Healing will be an abstraction when there is no justice when the cause of the wound is not addressed and the rottenness is not abolished. The military and police officers involved in the massacre sadly were highly compensated and decorated, there are still over 300 young women and men in detentions on trumped-up charges around the #EndSARS protests. Where is the healing?!

A serious effort for peace will be to put the recommendations of the judicial panel the governor constituted into effect. Clearly, the governor is not committed to peace or justice, his call for a walk of peace is to legitimize the white “washing” paper and the Lekki Massacre. We cannot walk on the sweat and blood of young people who, armed only with the Nigerian flag, came out to ask for a better Nigeria. Rather we must march for justice, apparently, it is us that have the objective responsibility and the power – (which lies in our unity) – to bring justice into being.

We commend young people, activists, and everyone who has rejected the insensitive “walk for peace” by Mr governor. We urge you to join us as we remain steadfast and insistent on our commitment to justice and liberation from oppression. We shall win, one day!!

by Lai BROWN

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