Counsel to the Lagos State government, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), on Friday, told the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry into the Lekki Tollgate shootings that #EndSARS protesters were a body not recognised by law.
Owonikoko made the submission after Mr Adesina Ogunlana announced his appearance to the panel as the counsel representing the EndSARS protesters.
Ogunlana had informed the panel that he would be cross-examining Mr Abayomi Omomuwasan, the Managing Director of Lekki Concession Company (LCC).
Omomuwasan was appearing before the panel to testify on the Oct. 20 shooting of #EndSARS protesters by members of the Nigerian military at the Lekki tollgate.
“To the best of my knowledge, there is no body called #EndSARS protesters and we know that a lawyer must adjudicate based on instruction. “My learned friend is entitled to representing anyone recognised before the law. We must know the persons the counsel is representing.
“We cannot have anyone appearing for a body without any structure. The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), for instance, is a known public body with known structure,” Owonikoko said. The LCC Counsel, Mr Rotimi Seriki, also aligned himself views with Owonikoko’s submission.
“He must represent a body known to law. The witness (LCC MD) appeared before the tribunal because they have evidence that would be of interest to the panel.
“We cannot allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to cross-examine the witness,” he said.
Responding, Ogunlana said he was neither a Tom, Dick or Harry, adding that he received his instruction from #EndSARS protesters, some of whom were present during proceedings.
“He (Seriki) is not in a position to describe my clients or leadership. It is because of #EndSARS protesters that we are here; it is because of the #EndSARS protesters that this panel was created.
“My lord did counsel a few days back that this is not a regular court but a fact-finding body. I’m not representing spirits; I’m representing actual persons,” he said.
Following his submission, Ogunlana presented three #EndSARS protesters, Victoria Oniru, Dabira Ayuku and Perpetua Kamsichukwu, as his clients.
Reacting, Owonikoko, however, said “these are decent people. I withdraw my objection.” The LCC counsel also withdrew his objection, following the presentation of the #EndSARS protesters before the panel.