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Tribunal begins probe into Lagos soldiers violence

16 September 2014, 07:52Henry Ifeanyi

Lagos -The tribunal of inquiry into the civil unrest and vandalism of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) buses that took place in Lagos in July has assured the public of a fair hearing.

The chairman, Justice Ebenezer Adebajo (rtd.) gave the assurance at the inaugural sitting of the tribunal held at the state secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.

Adebajo urged members of the public who witnessed the incident to come before the the tribunal adding it would ensure confidentiality of witnesses.

"The era of unknown soldier, where they engage in barbaric act is gone in Nigeria," he said.

Adebajo said this was the only way to ensure the tribunal did a thorough job and made appropriate recommendation that would  ensure such incident did not happen again.

Also Read: 12 troops sentenced to death for mutiny

Although, the military was not present at the inaugural sitting of the panel, Adebajo said the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Keneth Minimah and the Brigade Commander of the 9th Mechanised Division, Ikeja Cantonment, Brigadier General Lubo  would appear before the tribunal.   

Another member of the panel, Jude Igbanoi, also said that the tribunal expanded its scope of activities as it was prepared to take memoranda from people who wanted to remain anonymous.

Igbanoi said, even during sitting, the tribunal would protect and take evidence from anybody who did not want to make public their identity.

In his comments before the tribunal, the Director, Centre for Free Speech, Richard Akinola who represented the civil society, recalled the burning of Kalakuta Republic in 1977 by soldiers advised the tribunal against returning a verdict  of "unknown soldiers" in the matter.

"Because if at the end, the tribunal finds the driver of the BRT guilty of negligence, he would be charged accordingly and so, it  should be the case for soldiers found culpable", he said.

The Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority(LAMATA), Dayo Mobereola. who recounted a television programme on investigation of plane crashes urged for a thorough investigation by the tribunal to avoid a recurrence.

Early July, soldiers blocked roads, fired shots into the air and burned several buses in Lagos after a soldier was killed in a bus accident.

- CAJ News


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