Victoria Oniru, a witness of the October 20, 2020 shooting of protesters at the Lekki toll gate, Lagos, has denied receiving a N5 million compensation from the state government.
Oniru, reacting to claim by Temi Majekodunmi, youth representative at the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS-Related Abuses and Other Matters, that the panel awarded N5 million compensation to her, Perpetual Kamsichukwu and Dabira Ayuku, and N10 million to Sarah Ibrahim, said she did not receive any money.
Majekodunmi earlier told NEWSLOADED.COM.NG that the panel recommended compensations for all four but the state government’s white paper omitted them and only mentioned Ibrahim.
He had said back in December: “Serah Ibrahim was not the only eyewitness that the panel awarded a compensation to. That was why I said the state did not read the report.
“There were four: Perpetual Kamsichukwu, Dabira Ayuku and Victoria Oniru. The panel awarded compensations of N5 million each to them, while Serah Ibrahim was awarded a compensation of N10 million because she was the star witness.”
However, after the claims were brought to Oniru’s notice on Thursday, she denied ever receiving any compensation from the state. She also said she did not expect to receive any, as she would reject it.
“I was one of the coordinators at Lekki toll gate during the #EndSARS protests. I was one of the first persons – alongside Dabira, Kamsi and Sarah – to go to the panel of inquiry to testify that a massacre happened, that police truly shot at innocent protesters holding flags, and ever since then, we have been struggling, putting all our best to make sure that justice is served and our nation is better,” she told NEWSLOADED.COM.NG
“I am saying all this because I saw an article that was published December 2nd, and in the article it was claimed they paid me N5 million as a witness alongside Dabira, Kamsi and Sarah.
“What I am saying and would continue to say is that I don’t need to be paid for doing the right thing. I don’t need to be paid to be on the side of justice. All I did during the #EndSARS [protest] and during the panel of inquiry, I did for love, for justice, because it was the right thing. I don’t need the compensation from the panel, from Lagos. I don’t need anything from them now. I don’t need anything from the government in the future.
“I have never taken a penny from them. In case one day the government thinks to do the right thing and pay the victims – and no money can fix their disabled bodies – mine should be shared among the victims.”
She described money given as compensation for testifying as ‘blood money’.
“If I take it, that money will be blood money. I was raised to be a leader; I was not raised to lie. I was not raised to steal or deceive. I was not raised to get money from people unlawfully. I was not raised to be wicked and corrupt,” she told CEO newsloaded.com.ng
“I was raised to be a leader, be honest, progressive, smart, hardworking and humanistic, a leader who wouldn’t eat if people haven’t eaten, a leader who would advocate and support for the best of the best.
“I’m not a fake, and I am not going to lie. Come rain, come shine, I remain my humble self. Again and again, I repeat, I have not taken any money from the government. I don’t need to be compensated for doing the right thing, because we can be human together. I don’t need anything. I am fine, I am good, and the struggle continues.”
When newsloaded.com.ng contacted Gboyega Akosile, Chief Press Secretary to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State Governor, he told our reporter the state did not adopt all recommendations of the judicial panel.
“There is a white paper. The state government is not bound by the panel report, we are bound by the white paper,” he told CEO newsloaded.com.ng
He said the government questioned the recommendation for compensation, but only mentioned Sarah Ibrahim in its white paper.
When CEO Newsloaded.com.ng asked if the state paid Ibrahim, Akosile said, “Go and ask Sarah Ibrahim if we paid her. Call her and ask if we paid.”
Ceo newsloaded.com.ng called Ibrahim, but she had not responded to calls at press Time, and her number was switched off. A text message sent to her was unanswered as well.
By CEO newsloaded.com.ng