The tribunal of inquiry into the road traffic accident, arson and vandalism of some Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) vehicles began sitting in Lagos on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the incident occurred on July 4, following an allegation that a BRT bus had hit and killed a soldier at the Palmgrove axis of Ikorodu Road.
The incident led to a breakdown of law and order, and subsequent destruction of some BRT vehicles as well as looting and harassment of innocent citizens.
Consequently, Gov. Babatunde Fashola on July 21 inaugurated a three-man tribunal of inquiry to look into the cause of the incident in order to avoid future recurrence.
Present at the inaugural sitting were representatives of LAGBUS, Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, National Union of Road Transport Workers and community leaders.
The Chairman of the tribunal, retired Justice Ebenezer Adebajo, said its mandate was to determine the facts surrounding the incident.
According to him, the tribunal is also to make recommendations to prevent future occurrence of incidents of such nature.
Adebajo maintained that the tribunal would not entertain any form of bias in its proceedings, adding that it was only interested in unravelling the truth.
“On behalf of the tribunal, I give further assurance of our fairness to each and every person or group of persons with special interest in the work of the tribunal.
“This tribunal has not been constituted to witch hunt or to arrive at a predetermined conclusion.
“We implore the general public to have confidence in the work of the tribunal and we appeal to those persons who witnessed the happenings on that day to come forward.
“If anyone harbours any fear of reprisal, again we give assurance of confidentiality where it is requested,” he added.
Adebajo further noted that all the parties of interest, including the military, had indicated willingness to participate in the public hearing, which would likely be concluded on Sept. 30.
Also speaking, the Attorney General of Lagos State and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye, said that the essence of the tribunal was to determine the cause of the mayhem as a way of forestalling future recurrence.
Represented by the spokesperson of the ministry, Mrs Bola Akingbade, the commissioner urged members of the public who witnessed the incident to come out and give their evidence before the tribunal.
On his part, a representative of the civil society organisations, Mr Richard Akinola, observed that the Nigerian Army had no representation at the proceedings.
Akinola noted that their attendance was critical to the inquiry as it could lead to identifying those who were responsible for the incident from both sides.
NAN reports that those expected to testify at the hearing include LAGBUS officials, LASTMA officials, officers of the Nigerian Army and the Police as well as other eye witnesses.