#EndSARS Panel Issues Arrest Warrant On Commissioner Of Police

The crest of the Nigeria Police Force is seen on a police officer’s uniform. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV.

 

The Independent Investigation Panel on Human Rights Violations by the defunct SARS and other units of the Nigerian Police Force on Monday issued a warrant of arrest on the Commissioner of Police in charge of legal services at the Force Headquarters, CP Ochogwu.

The arrest order is in respect of the alleged enforced disappearance and unlawful arrest and detention of one John Emeka Alozie by the Force since June 25, 2017.

This was disclosed in a statement, signed by Deputy Director Public Affairs, Fatimah Agwai Mohammed on Tuesday.

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According to the statement, the CP had been ordered on several occasions to appear before the panel with the case file of the victim (Alozie), but he failed to honour the summon despite adjourning the petitions five times to allow more time for the CP to do the needful.

Displeased by the ugly development, the Chairman of the panel Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd), who issued the arrest warrant on the top police officer observed that the attitude of Ochogwu was unbecoming of a lawyer and officer of the Police Force.

According to the eminent jurist, the only option left for the panel was to issue a warrant of arrest on the CP legal and mandate the National Human Rights Commission to write to the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, LPDC to report the Ochogwu conduct in the matter.

The Chairman noted that the CP has flagrantly and repeatedly disobeyed the order of the panel, having refused to turn in the said case file to enable the panel to unravel the truth about the whereabouts of Alozie in accordance with the law.

It would be recalled that the wife of the victim, Alozie had testified that a high court had ordered the police to release the victim and the order was never obeyed to date.

The panel adjourned the petition till April 27, 2022, for a progress report.

#EndSARS: FG Accuses Twitter, Canada Of Double Standards Over Truckers’ Protest

File photo of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, during a press conference.

 

The Federal Government has accused the Canadian government and social media giant, Twitter, of double standards in its handling of the truckers’ protest against COVID-19 restrictions in Canada.

Following the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Canada, truck drivers converged on the nation’s capital, a situation that made Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hit out at the protesters, describing their action as “unacceptable”. Similarly, Twitter suspended the account of the Canadian truckers protesting over COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other restrictions around the pandemic.

But while reacting to the development, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, criticised Twitter and the West for the way they perceive the violent protesters in their region and those in Nigeria. He recalled how the Canadian government condemned the actions taken by the Nigerian government to quell the #EndSARS protest against police brutality and bad governance that took place in October 2020.

“Recall, gentlemen, that during the EndSARS protest, which culminated in the blockage of public roads and massive destruction of government and private property, Canada was one of the countries that spoke out in support of the protesters,” he said in a communique in Abuja on Sunday.

“Recall also that Twitter actively supported the EndSars protesters and even helped them to raise funds while GoFundMe was used to raise funds for the protests.”

READ ALSO: Electoral Act Amendment: Presidency Afraid Of APC’s 2023 Chances, Says Wike

To Mohammed, these are the same entities “that are now rushing to distance themselves from the protesters in Canada and even denying them the use of their platforms”.

He, however, stated that the essence of the news briefing was not to gloat over the unfortunate development in Canada.

“This is similar to what played out during the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol In Washington, D.C. where those involved are either still being investigated or have been charged to court. I don’t blame them. Nobody wants their country destroyed under the guise of protests,” he said.

“Don’t misunderstand this intervention. We are not gloating over the unfortunate development in Canada. But we are only calling attention to the double standards involved in the way protesters deemed to be violent are perceived in Nigeria and in the West.

“Those who referred to the hoodlums who destroyed public and private property in Nigeria under the guise of EndSARS as peaceful protesters have tagged similar protesters in their own countries as insurrectionists and terrorists. This glaring double standard should not be lost on all Nigerians.

“We have always said that you must have a country before you can even enjoy the freedoms guaranteed by your country’s constitution. If there is no Nigeria, no one will be talking of freedom of expression or freedom of association and the like.

“This realisation explains why every country goes the extra mile to protect and preserve itself. And this also explains why we have continued to insist on the regulation of social media to ensure responsible content. In this area, I can confidently say we are far ahead of most countries in the world, who have now realized that social media must be regulated in the interest of their own people.

“In this regard, our successful negotiation with Twitter to fashion out measures to ensure responsible use of that platform which, by the way, will also apply to other social media platforms, has made us a global trailblazer in efforts to prevent harmful content from social media platforms

“Gentlemen, we must not allow anyone to destroy our country under the guise of protest or unbridled freedoms. We all must put Nigeria first at all times.”

1999 Politics Has Expired, Young People Are Taking Over – Obaseki

 

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki believes Nigeria’s political system has failed the nation.

According to him, the kind of politics played in 1999 is no longer relevant as young people are set to take over.

The Governor made the comments during a Peoples Democratic Party stakeholders meeting in Benin-City on Sunday.

READ ALSO: Thugs Attack Venue Of Zamfara PDP Congress

“Nigeria is going to a new stage; there is a new paradigm,” Obaseki said. “The politics we started in 1999 has now expired or is expiring.

“So anybody who is playing politics the way it was played in 1999 cannot succeed because the children who were five, six years old in 1999, today are now getting married. They are now the ones that are going to be in charge.

“So if we don’t provide leadership, they will push us aside. They are more than us, I have their data. they are not happy. They did not like what we did to them during #EndSARS. So we don’t have to wait for them to express themselves again.

“Let us provide leadership. Because as you know, those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable. So what you are seeing in insecurity today, in hunger, in the desperation of our people, is the sign of the failure of our political system. And we have to correct it.

“We have started in Edo and we must continue. The old order can no longer hold. There is a new order. We have a choice, either to shape the new order or the new order will overwhelm us.”

Sanwo-Olu: I Will Walk With Anyone Promoting Peace, Says Segun Awosanya

 

A rights activist and member of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the Consolidated Report on General Police Brutality Cases and Report of Lekki Incident Investigation, Mr. Segun Awosanya on Thursday said he will work with anyone promoting peace.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had proposed a Peace Walk, as one of the steps towards closure and healing over last year’s EndSARS protests and the Lekki toll gate incident.

Calling on entertainers Seun Kuti, Folarin Falana popularly known as Falz, Debo Adedayo, popularly known as Mr Macaroni among others to join in the walk, the governor on Tuesday said he would lead the peace walk.

READ ALSO: No Law Permits Sanwo-Olu To Override Decisions Of #EndSARS Panel – Ebun Adegboruwa

“Our state deserves true healing after the disturbances that trailed last year’s protests against police brutality. It is only the sustenance of harmony that can guarantee the realisation of aspirations of all residents,” Sanwo-Olu said during a briefing at the State House.

However, entertainers Kuti, Falana and Adedayo rejected the Governor’s offer, asking for justice to be carried out instead.

But Mr Awosanya, who spoke from London, said he could consider it if he was in Nigeria.

“Because I am an advocate for peace, justice, equity and fairness, I will walk with anybody who wants peace,” he said.

“There are no absolutes. Because I agree with some people on certain things does not mean I am in alignment with them. So if walk with the Governor today, it does not stop me from criticising the Governor.”

No Law Permits Sanwo-Olu To Override Decisions Of #EndSARS Panel – Ebun Adegboruwa

A file photo of Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has said there is no provision in law that empowers the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to overrule the decisions of the #EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry.

In a communique titled, ‘Comments On LASG White Papers On Endsars Panel Reports’, the senior lawyer also argued that no provision exists for the issuance of a White Paper under the law setting up the Panel.

“Under and by virtue of section 15 of the Tribunal of Inquiry Law, upon conclusion of any inquiry, the Governor is only empowered to issue directive for the enforcement of any decision emanating from the inquiry.

READ ALSO: How Lagos Govt Responded To 32 Recommendations Made By #EndSARS Panel

“The Governor cannot issue a White Paper to overrule the decisions of a Judicial Panel of Inquiry,” Mr Adegboruwa declared.

He added: “There is no provision in the Tribunals of Inquiry Law of Lagos State which permits the Governor to overrule decisions of the Panel conducted through open hearing.

“As stated earlier, the decisions of the Panel were self-executory and compensations were paid to victims upon the success of any Petition.

“It is improper for LASG to pick and choose which decision of the Panel it would comply with, on the alleged ground that the soldiers/officers involved are outside its statutory control, whereas the same LASG conveniently paid compensations awarded in respect of police brutality and the police are similarly outside its statutory control.”

Mr Adegboruwa expressed his displeasure at the fact that the government issued white paper overlooked critical evidence that the panel considered and it also misrepresented the findings and recommendations of the panel in many areas, to suit its narrative.

According to him, narratives that were skewed include a confirmation that soldiers shot at unarmed peaceful protesters at the LTG on October 20, 2020, as established by Exhibit LLC A and the forensic expert from Sentinel, who affirmed that both live and blank bullets were fired by soldiers, as well as the testimony of many doctors that treated victims of gunshot wounds.

Lekki Shooting: How Lagos Govt Responded To 32 Recommendations Made By #EndSARS Panel

Governor Sanwo-Olu receives the report from the head of the Lagos panel on police brutality, Justice Doris Okuwobi. Photo: Lagos State Government.

 

Two weeks after it received the report of its Judicial Panel of Inquiry on matters related to #EndSARS, the Lagos State Government kept to its promise and published two White Papers on Tuesday evening.

One of the White Papers focused on the JPI’s report on the Lekki Toll Gate incident of October 20, 2020.

A leaked version of the JPI report had indicted the Nigerian Army and the Lagos state government in the killing of unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate and a subsequent cover-up.

READ ALSO: Lagos Govt Releases White Paper On #EndSARS Report

But, in its White Paper, the Lagos state government maintained that there was no massacre at the Toll Gate and denied orchestrating a cover-up. 

Below are the 32 recommendations of the JPI and how the State Government responded:

1. The Panel recommended that the police should be adequately funded, effectively trained, and provided with the requisite accouterments and equipment. It also recommended a better and more harmonised communication system with all security apparatus of the state; and better welfare packages for police officers, including improved salary, well-equipped offices, provision of decent accommodation, and transportation

LASG says it notes this recommendation and will forward this recommendation to the Federal Government and other necessary agencies. It adds that it has supported and will continue to support the Lagos Command of the Nigeria Police Force through the Lagos State Security Trust Fund.

2. The Panel recommends disciplinary action to the following officers – Lt Col S.O Bello and Major General Godwin Umelo, who refused to honour its summons in order to frustrate the investigation.

LASG notes it will forward this recommendation to the Federal Government, the National Economic Council, and Nigerian Army for their consideration.

3. The Panel recommends that all officers (excluding Major General Omata) men of the Nigerian Army that were deployed to the Lekki Toll gate on October 20, 2020, should be made to face appropriate disciplinary action, stripped of their status, and dismissed as they are not fit and proper to serve in any public or security service of the nation.

LASG notes that the Nigerian Army is an organisation that has its own disciplinary procedures and processes as set down by law, over which it has no control. Nevertheless, it will forward this recommendation to appropriate authorities for their consideration and action.

4. The Panel recommends that all those arrested in the course of the protest should be granted bail, prosecuted for any offence that may be alleged against them, or where no prima facie evidence of culpability is disclosed upon due investigation, they should be released forthwith.

LASG notes that the issue of grant of bail is a matter within the exclusive preserve of the Judiciary, but notes the recommendation.

5. The panel recommends that the Nigeria Army be discouraged from intervening in internal security.

LASG notes that section 217(2)(c) of the constitution states that the Armed Forces may “intervene to suppress insurrection and also to assist civil authorities to restore lawful order” which had clearly broken down in Lagos between 19th – 21st October 2020. Such intervention must however be with clear rules of engagement, it adds.

6. The panel, having found that the use of social media played significant role in escalating the crises and appeals for restraint in spreading unverified pieces of information to the general public.

LASG agrees with this recommendation and notes that the incident at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, was exacerbated by indiscriminate dissemination of unverified accounts of the events of that day. It says it will launch a campaign to sensitise the public on the use of social media and the inherent dangers in its abuse.

7. The Panel commends several hospitals and all the medical personnel that attended to the victims of gunshot wounds at the Lekki Toll Gate and treated all of them free of charge. The Panel recommends them for special awards by the Lagos State and Federal Governments.

LASG notes that it commends all medical personnel and hospitals that treated citizens who suffered injuries during the protest. However, it disagrees that hospitals treated victims of gunshot wounds from Lekki Toll Gate in the light of the evidence before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry (JPI), that only one person suffered gunshot injury from Lekki Toll Gate at 7:43 pm on October 21, 2020. 

8. The Panel recommends that the commitment made to the hospitals by the Lagos State Government through the Governor and the Commissioner for Health for the payment of the hospital bills of the #EndSARS protesters should be fulfilled.

LASG notes that it has paid all hospitals. It however commends Reddington Hospital which rendered its services free of charge.

9. The Panel recommends that the DPO of Maroko Police Station along with policemen deployed from the station on October 20 and 21, 2021 be prosecuted for arbitrary and indiscriminate shooting and killing of protesters.

LASG notes that even though the evidence before the JPI does not establish arbitrary and indiscriminate killing of protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, it will request the police to further investigate the matter and furnish the Director of Public Prosecutions in Lagos State with the case file of the matter within 90 days. It also enjoined members of the public who have credible evidence of the allegations against the DPO of Maroko Police Station and policemen deployed from there to submit such evidence to the office of the DPP within the same time frame.

10. The Panel recommends that a Grievance Address mechanism should be improved upon to engender speedy attention and action.

LASG accepts this recommendation and will intensify its effort to engage the youths as it has been doing through the Youth/Police Dialogue and Youth Peaceful Conflict Resolution programme.

11. The Panel recommends that Government should engage regularly with youths and be proactive and responsive when tense situations arise.

LASG accepts this recommendation and will intensify efforts to engage the youths and be proactive in all situations. It adds that dialogue with youths is ongoing and is a continuous process.

12. The panel recommends that curfew regulations should be widely publicised.

LASG accepts this recommendation.

13. The panel recommends reorientation and training of police and security personnel on the handling of crime scenes.

LASG notes that it will forward the recommendation to the Federal Government for consideration and also reaffirms its commitment to resuscitate the Lagos DNA & Forensic Centre (one of whose components is a Crime Scene Lab) looted and destroyed during the October 21, 2020 carnage.

14. The Panel recommends that Coroner inquests and autopsies should be done in cases of suspicious death within a maximum of one month of occurrence of the incident. 

LASG notes that there is already in place a robust Coroner Systems law in the state.

15. The Panel recommends that there should be guidelines and standard procedures for mortuaries on information to be requested and documentation is done in cases of bodies brought to them.

LASG says it notes that it has in place standard operating procedures for mortuaries, but in the light of lessons learned during the protests and its aftermath, it will improve on its SOPs in line with best practices.

16. The Panel recommends training of health officials, particularly LASEHMU.

LASG says it accepts and will provide further training and capacity building for its health officials, particularly Lagos State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit (LASEHMU).

17. The Panel recommends training and retraining of all security officials, including Civil defense, Police and the Army on rules of engagement and management of protest.

LASG notes it will forward the recommendation to the Federal Government for consideration. It adds that it is committed to continuous training of its law enforcement agencies.

18. The Panel recommends that the situation of the integrity of the scene of the incident must be preserved and items of physical evidence should not be removed between the time-lapse from the incident and scene examination in any other situation.

LASG accepts this recommendation and will forward the recommendation to the Federal Government for consideration. It also reaffirmed its commitment to resuscitating the Lagos DNA & Forensic Centre.

19. The Panel recommends that the Lekki Toll Plaza be made a memorial site for #EndSARS protest, by renaming to ‘#EndSARS Toll Gate.’

LASG notes that it will designate a park in the State and name it ‘Peace Park’ to serve as a reminder to citizens of the peaceful protest all over the State against abuse of human rights.

20. The Panel recommends that October 20 should be designated as “Toll Free Day” at the Lekki Toll Gate as long as the tollgate exists.

LASG notes that in the spirit of healing and reconciliation, it accepts the recommendation.

21. The Panel recommends that October 20 should be made #EndSARS day nationally for the remembrance of our fallen youth.

LASG notes that it has no powers to declare any day as a national day and adds that the recommendation will be forwarded to the Federal Government.

22. The Panel recommends that for the purpose of restitution, healing, and reconciliation, the Federal Government needs to publicly apologise to the youth for abruptly undermining the protest with their state actors.

LASG says it notes and will forward the recommendation to the Federal Government for consideration.

23. The Panel recommends that the government should do all it can to bridge the gap of distrust with the Youth.

LASG accepts this recommendation and notes that the process has already commenced.

24. The Panel recommends that a monument memorialising the lives lost and those injured at the Lekki Toll Gate with the names inscribed on the Monument.

LASG notes that this recommendation is not acceptable to it because it is unable to accept the finding that nine people died at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020. It also notes that there was no massacre at Lekki Toll Gate, contextual or otherwise. It adds that the finding of the JPI that nine people died from gunshots fired by the Military are based on assumptions and speculations.

25. The Panel recommends the establishment of a standing committee to bridge the gap between the society and the police via information gathering, community engagement, youth sensitisation, prompt intervention on issues that require intelligence-led policing, and community policing principles for the review and action of the State Commissioner of Police.

LASG notes and will forward the recommendation to the Federal Government and National Economic Council.

26. The Panel recommends that the scrutiny of all disciplinary processes of the Nigerian Army and the police be made transparent and outcomes made public periodically.

LASG says it notes and will forward the recommendation to the Federal Government and National Economic Council.

27. The Panel recommends that the Complaint Response Unit of the Police at the FHQ must be reinforced to scale up its national responsibilities in prompt engagement and treating public complaints against erring officers across the country to avoid conflagration.

LASG says it notes and will forward the recommendation to the Federal Government and National Economic Council.

28. The Panel recommends that any data that may have been generated over the years on the impunity of the police across Nigeria be studied and deployed as early warning signs (EWS) mechanism.

LASG says it notes and will forward the recommendation to the Federal Government and the National Economic Council.

29. The Panel recommends that compensation to the victims in cases emanating from the Lekki incident of October 20 be facilitated and promptly distributed to ensure justice is served and seen to be served for accelerated healing to win the peace and build public trust.

LASG says it notes and will forward the recommendation to the Federal Government and the National Economic Council.

30. The Panel recommends a special trust fund for compensation of victims of the Lekki Toll Gate incident of October 20, 2020, and other established and proven human rights abuses.

LASG says it will take steps to forward the recommendation to the Federal Government and the National Economic Council.

31. The Panel recommends that the Lagos State Assembly should set up a standing Human Rights Committee or Tribunal made up of representatives of the Nigeria Police, Ministry of Justice, National Human Rights Commission, Office of the Public Defender, Legal Aid Council, CSOs, and other relevant stakeholders with a mandate to receive and make determinations in respect of complaints made against the Nigerian police and other security agencies.

LASG notes that it will take appropriate legislative actions to establish a standing Human Rights Committee comprising of members of civil society, the Nigerian Bar Association, Office of Public Defender, and security agencies.

32. The Panel recommends that all petitions filed before the panel but that could not be heard due to time constraints should be channeled through the Ministry of Justice to the Standing Human Rights Committee or Tribunal.

LASG says it notes and accepts this recommendation.

 

‘Peace Walk’: Lagos Govt Should Begin By Implementing #EndSARS Panel Report – Mr Macaroni

 

Nigerian entertainer, Debo Adedayo, popularly known as Mr Macaroni, has asked the Lagos State Government to begin its call for peace by first ensuring justice through the implementation of the recommendations of the #EndSARS panel.

Adedayo said this on Tuesday hours after Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had called him and several other youths to join a ‘Walk for Peace’ in December to herald the healing of the land.

“Now that the panel has presented their report, the next line of action should be for the government to implement the recommendations of the panel,” the skit maker said in an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today.

“Anything contrary to that takes us back to square one. Where there is so much distrust. It is part of the problems that led us to where we are today. So, it’s not about a walk of peace, you won’t find me there because we are not at war.

“What we are saying is that the government should come to terms with the people. People have died, lives have been lost, people have been beaten, dehumanised and I’m also a living testimony so I’m shocked that you are calling me for a walk now.”

Read Also: ‘Our Decisions Will Be Based On Truth’: Sanwo-Olu Speaks On #EndSARS Panel Report

He, however, explained that he is willing to rescind his decision once the right steps are followed to ensure justice.

Governor Sanwo-Olu had during a briefing earlier in the day said he would lead the peace walk in order to herald the healing of the land in the face of the misinformation and misunderstanding following the recent leak of a report by the Judicial Panel of Enquiry on the #EndSARS debacle.

“Our state deserves true healing after the disturbances that trailed last year’s protests against police brutality. It is only the sustenance of harmony that can guarantee the realisation of aspirations of all residents,” Sanwo-Olu said.

“The state is currently faced with the hard choice of restoring harmony or doing itself great harm. I appeal to Lagosians to reject those fueling anarchy and suspicion, clinging to the unsubstantiated belief that carries no weight of verifiable evidence and choosing emotion over hard facts.

“Our administration is ready to facilitate better communication between the youths and the state’s security machinery to resolve issues before they become intractable.

“To quicken recovery and engender a better understanding, I will lead ‘A Walk for Peace’ in December to herald the healing of the land.

“I have extended an open invitation to the youths, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society groups, students and the media, as well as other stakeholders to join me in this peace walk”.

Speaking further, the governor also noted that the White Paper which is expected to contain recommendations of the panel will be released later today.

He assured Lagosians that his administration is committed to a process that will bring “closure to a painful episode in the history”.

Police Brutality: ‘I Want Peace After Justice’ – Seun Kuti

 

Nigerian musician, Seun Kuti has rejected Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s invite for a peace walk as part of efforts to ensure harmony in the state.

Speaking on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Tuesday, Kuti said the first step to ensuring peace in the state is to ensure justice for all victims of police brutality and human rights abuses.

“I don’t need to walk next to the governor before there is peace in Lagos.

“The governor should walk the walk he is talking about by bringing about justice. The governor is not an embodiment of justice, Seun Kuti is not an embodiment of justice, Falz is not an embodiment of justice, Mr Macaroni is not an embodiment of justice and also,” he said.

Read Also: Lagos Govt Releases White Paper On #EndSARS Report, Accepts 11 Out Of 32 Recommendations

His comments come hours after Governor Sanwo-Olu had called him and several other youths to join a ‘Walk for Peace’ in December to herald the healing of the land.

Another entertainer, Debo Adedayo, popularly known as Mr Macaroni, who was on the show also declined the invite, asking the governor to begin his call for peace by first ensuring justice through the implementation of the recommendations of the #EndSARS panel.

Sanwo-Olu Invites Seun Kuti, Mr Macaroni, Others For Peace Walk To Herald ‘Healing of Lagos’

 

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has initiated a peace walk as part of efforts to ensure harmony in the state.

Calling on entertainers Seun Kuti, Folarin Falana popularly known as Falz, Debo Adedayo, popularly known as Mr Macaroni among others to join in the walk, the governor on Tuesday said he would lead the peace walk.

This, according to him, would herald the healing of the land in the face of the misinformation and misunderstanding following the recent leak of a report by the Judicial Panel of Enquiry on the #EndSARS debacle.

Read Also: ‘Peace Walk’: Lagos Govt Should Begin By Implementing #EndSARS Panel Report – Mr Macaroni

“Our state deserves true healing after the disturbances that trailed last year’s protests against police brutality. It is only the sustenance of harmony that can guarantee the realisation of aspirations of all residents,” Sanwo-Olu said during a briefing at the State House.

“The state is currently faced with the hard choice of restoring harmony or doing itself great harm. I appeal to Lagosians to reject those fueling anarchy and suspicion, clinging to the unsubstantiated belief that carries no weight of verifiable evidence and choosing emotion over hard facts.

“Our administration is ready to facilitate better communication between the youths and the state’s security machinery to resolve issues before they become intractable.

“To quicken recovery and engender a better understanding, I will lead ‘A Walk for Peace’ in December to herald the healing of the land.

“I have extended an open invitation to the youths, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society groups, students and the media, as well as other stakeholders to join me in this peace walk”.

Speaking further, the governor also noted that the White Paper which is expected to contain recommendations of the panel will be released later today.

He assured Lagosians that his administration is committed to a process that will bring “closure to a painful episode in the history of the state as the White Paper will be issued later in the day in keeping to my earlier promise to release it within two weeks”.

‘Our Decisions Will Be Based On Truth’: Sanwo-Olu Speaks On #EndSARS Panel Report

 

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday said his government was committed to justice and truth as it relates to the report of the state’s #EndSARS panel.

The panel submitted its report on November 15, although the state government is yet to make its contents public with a White Paper expected today (Tuesday).

However, a leaked version of the report indicted the Nigerian Army and the Lagos state government in the killing of unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate and a subsequent cover-up.

READ ALSO: Court Declares Sanusi’s Banishment As Unlawful

It is not yet clear how the report was leaked.

Sanwo-Olu, commenting on the report, said the leakage was “regrettable”.

“While I commend the panel for undertaking its task to the best of its abilities, it is however regrettable that the panel’s work and the leakage of an unauthorized version of the report have generated much tension. Sadly, a deep wound has been reopened,” he said.

“The heated exchanges among various shades of opinion on the report have unfortunately put us all at the risk of missing the larger picture; the fact that what we all seek in common is a land in which we are all safe and secure, law enforcement agents are trusted, and justice is guaranteed for all.

“As I have stated earlier, we have no intention to engage in histrionics or further inflame passion on a matter that has generated intense interest and controversy nationally and internationally. Our decisions and actions will be based entirely on the law, the weight of evidence, and an unblemished respect for the truth.”

 

Read the Governor’s full speech:

GOVERNOR BABAJIDE SANWO-OLU’S SPEECH TO THE PEOPLE OF LAGOS STATE ON THE LEKKI TOLLGATE INCIDENT – DELIVERED ON TUESDAY 30 NOVEMBER, 2021.

My dear good people of Lagos State,
It is with great sense of responsibility that I address you today on the reactions that have trailed the release of the #EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry Report submitted to me two weeks ago, and how it has played out in public discourse since then.
I believe — and have always been vocal about this — that we owe it to you, the people of Lagos, to constantly speak and engage with you. In easy times, in difficult circumstances, we will never shy away from making our case to you, while also ensuring that we listen to you.
I will start by saying that we, as an administration, are determined that the next steps that will be taken in this process of coming to terms with the events of October 2020, must bring closure to a painful episode in the history of our State, with the release of the White Paper later today.
This, in my view, is a moment that beckons us to define who and what we are as a people.
To be a Centre of Excellence, we must be a Centre of Truth. To be a smart city, we first must be a just one. To be a prosperous state, we must establish ourselves as a peaceful entity. And to achieve the Greater Lagos of our dreams we must learn to live in harmony, even amidst inevitable disagreement.
In times like these, with anger and animosity too quick and fast at hand, it is easy to hide behind our own prejudices, treating them as deeper truths instead of the superficial lies they are.
It is far too easy to take sides and choose emotion over fact, even when the truth is to be found in shades of nuance. It is easy to choose darkness over light; to take perverse delight in playing unhelpful games of cynicism and suspicion; to cling to beliefs that do not carry the weight of verifiable evidence.
To become a champion of prejudice is to own a fleeting and false victory. It is a victory of rancor over reason, of vengeance over justice, of anger over compassion.
Today, I stand before you to declare that I reject this path; and I invite you all to do same.
The choice confronting us today is between restoring greater harmony or doing greater harm. I choose harmony over harm. As your Governor, it is my task to explain why all Lagosians should join me on this path that promises a more beneficial future.
Fellow Lagosians, let me at this point bring to the fore some very important context that we must never lose sight of. You will recall that the Judicial Panel of Inquiry was originally inaugurated to investigate allegations of police brutality committed by the disbanded SARS in Lagos state.
In the aftermath of what happened on October 20, 2020, I decided to expand the mandate of the Panel to include investigating what really happened at the Lekki Tollgate that night.
As a matter of good faith and a sincere commitment to uncovering the truth, we constituted a panel of individuals that we believed were independent, credible, and representative of the various stakeholder community interested in the movement against police brutality.
Apart from the Chairman of the panel being a respected retired jurist, various stakeholders including the youths, #EndSars protesters, the police and civil society groups were represented on the panel.
I am sure no member of the panel can claim that the state government made any attempt to influence them in any way throughout the duration of its sitting.
While I commend the panel for undertaking its task to the best of its abilities, it is however regrettable that the panel’s work and the leakage of an unauthorized version of the report have generated much tension. Sadly, a deep wound has been reopened.
The heated exchanges among various shades of opinion on the report have unfortunately put us all at the risk of missing the larger picture; the fact that what we all seek in common is a land in which we are all safe and secure, law enforcement agents are trusted, and justice is guaranteed for all.
As I have stated earlier, we have no intention to engage in histrionics or further inflame passion on a matter that has generated intense interest and controversy nationally and internationally. Our decisions and actions will be based entirely on the law, the weight of evidence and an unblemished respect for the truth.
Let me at this juncture say that I have never been in any doubt as to the sincerity, patriotism and noble motivations of both organizers of and participants in the movement to see an end to the human rights abuses by the now disbanded Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS).
It is also on record that the Federal Government accepted all the demands of the protesters, including the immediate scrapping of SARS. The National Economic Council (NEC) also recommended the establishment of State Panels of Inquiry into cases of police brutality. And the Lagos State Government was the first to set up its own panel.
I can boldly say that no State took the advocacy for police reforms and justice in the face of documented brutality more seriously than we did in Lagos. We have so far paid N420million in compensation to victims of police brutality, in line with the recommendations of the panel.
My good people of Lagos State, you will also recall that, in solidarity with the protesters, I joined our youths at various points during the demonstrations, particularly at the Lekki Tollgate and Alausa.
I received the charter of demands of the protesters and promised to pass them on to the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari.
I kept my word and passed on the demands to the President, who promised to act promptly on the issues raised.
However, perhaps as a result of entrenched lack of trust between the government and the governed over the years, the protesters responded to the government’s concessions with skepticism, and the demonstrations continued, even growing in intensity.
Regrettably, what had been very well organized and peaceful protests were subsequently hijacked in different parts of the country, particularly in Lagos.
In the ensuing descent into anarchy, many of our compatriots were caught up in the violence. Several policemen were killed. Public and private property, including critical infrastructure, were set on fire, leading to losses estimated at several billions of naira.
At that point, I imposed a curfew to restore normalcy in Lagos. We had only one goal in mind: the maintenance of law and order, and protection of citizens going about their daily lives. This is more than a legal duty. It is a sacred obligation under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which I swore to uphold.
In my inaugural speech on May 29, 2019, I said:
“Let us explore how we can establish a harmony of interests and avoid the growing tendency to focus on those things that differentiate and divide one Lagosian from another. By dint of providence, this small tract of land intersected and surrounded by waterways and lagoons has become home to roughly twenty-two million people, with their various dreams and aspirations.”
It is my earnest desire that all of us — the government, the youth, protesters, the police, and other security agencies — learn the appropriate lessons from the #EndSars protests, particularly the Lekki Tollgate incident, with a view to averting any recurrence to the detriment of our dear state.
It is a testimony to our strength and resilience as a people that, despite the huge losses incurred because of these terrible incidents, we have bounced back, with our economy as vibrant and virile as ever. I have no doubt whatsoever that our prospects are as bright as ever and the best lies ahead of Lagos State and Nigeria.
My Dear Lagosians, let me remind you of our collective strength as a people. We are that social collective who through the resilience of our Spirit confronted an unseen enemy called Covid- 19. In our common resolve, we overcame the worst of the pandemic.
We are the great people who triumphed over the terrible explosion at Ado-Soba, an incident in which many lives and property were lost. Just a month ago, we rose above the differences in our tribes and tongues; we rallied our inner strength to rescue survivors of the collapsed Ikoyi building and console those who lost their loved ones.
THE TESTAMENT TO THE RESILIENCE OF OUR SPIRIT RESTS IN HOW WE RISE AFTER EVERY ADVERSITY. THIS IS WHO WE ARE. THIS IS THE TRUE SPIRIT OF LAGOS.
Our resilient and irrepressible spirit also propels us to show our empathetic nature in the face of tribulations has long defined us as a people; and is also at the root of the just clamor for an end to Police brutality.
Going forward, dear Lagosians, we shall facilitate better communication between our youths and the state’s security machinery to resolve issues before they become intractable. We will make it easier for our young people to initiate formal complaints on human rights violations through the Ministry of Justice.
We will also improve the coordination between the state government and the security agencies, including the police and the military. In this vein, we are studying how to improve security policy formulation, information sharing, and clarifying rules of engagement in times of social unrest.
Just as we have established a mechanism to compensate all those who lost homes, businesses, and livelihoods to the violent destruction of October 2020, we shall also establish a detailed procedure for the just compensation of citizens with verified claims of police brutality committed during the protests.
In December, I will be leading A WALK FOR PEACE to herald the healing of our land. Let me use this occasion to extend an open invitation to our youths, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society groups, students and the media as well as other stakeholders to join me.
FOLARIN FALANA (FALZ). DEBO ADEBAYO (MR. MARCARONI). DELE FAROTIMI. TEMITOPE MAJEKODUNMI. SEGUN AWOSANYA(SEGALINKS). ADETOUN (JUST DETOUN). SEUN KUTI. CP HAKEEM ODUMOSU. CSP YINKA EGBEYEMI.
JOIN ME ON THIS HISTORIC MARCH FOR OUR DEAR LAGOS. NOBODY WILL BUILD THIS CITY FOR US. LET US SHOW THE WORLD WHO WE ARE. WE ARE LAGOSIANS. A PEOPLE OF GREAT RENOWN, DRIVEN BY THE IRREPRESSIBLE SPIRIT OF LAGOS.
God bless Lagos State
God bless Federal Republic of Nigeria.
BABAJIDE OLUSOLA SANWO-OLU
GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE
NOVEMBER 29, 2021.

Adegboruwa Tackles FG Over Legality Of #EndSARS Panels

Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (second right) is seen in this file photo of members of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution during a sitting.

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has tackled the Federal Government over the legality of the judicial panels of inquiry set up to investigate the allegations of police brutality in various states.

In a statement on Monday, he faulted the position of the Federal Government on the outcome of the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters.

Although he did not specifically mention any government official, the senior advocate issued the statement barely a day after the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, questioned the legality of the panels.

“I will not answer this question as a sitting minister,” said Keyamo who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics. “I will answer this question as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and so, I am entitled to my own opinion; this is not the Federal Government’s position.”

“For me, that panel was an illegal panel,” the minister said of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry in which Adegboruwa represented the civil society.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS Panel Was Illegal – Keyamo

For the latter, the Federal Government ought to focus more on strengthening the nation’s institutions to make them work.

According to him, it is wrong for the government to initiate a process and make a U-turn later over an unfavourable outcome.

Read the statement issued by the senior lawyer below:

THE LEGALITY OF #EndSARS PANELS

The federal government has recently muted the idea that all the Judicial Panels of Inquiry set up by the various States across the Federation, especially that of Lagos State, are illegal.

It has never been part of our legal system in Nigeria, for a plaintiff who approached the court in the first instance, to turn around to challenge the legality or jurisdiction of the court.

The #EndSARS Panels were set up at the behest of the Federal Government, through the National Economic Council.

In the case of the Lagos Panel, the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Army, voluntarily submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the Panel, the federal government called witnesses, it tendered documents and it made very lengthy presentations.

A party cannot approbate and reprobate at the same time. Thus, a party who initiated a process and willingly and actively participated in that process, cannot turn around, after judgment, to plead illegality or absence of jurisdiction, simply because the outcome is unfavorable. We must strengthen our institutions to make them work.

While we all await the White Paper from the Lagos State government, it is important for government to build trust in the people in all its dealings and utterances.

God bless Nigeria.

Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN

Lekki, Lagos.

29/11/2021

#EndSARS Panel Was Illegal – Keyamo

 

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Festus Keyamo, has faulted the judicial panel of inquiry set up to investigate cases of police brutality and SARS-related abuses across the country.

Responding to a question about the position of the government specifically regarding a leaked report by the Lagos judicial panel, the human rights lawyer described the panel as illegal.

“I will not answer this question as a sitting minister,” he said on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics. “I will answer this question as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and so, I am entitled to my own opinion. This is not the Federal Government’s position.

“For me, that panel was an illegal panel”.

He argued that, according to the Tribunal of Enquiry Act of Lagos State, “It states that the governor has the power to inquire into the conduct of any person, underline any person and then chieftaincy matters and on and on, and then any other matter within that to promote the good of the public.

“However, any person that was defined in Section 21 to mean public officers of the states, because when they say any person, any person of the state within the State, officer of the state is defined to me, somebody within the public service of Lagos state of the local government, as the case may be.

“In other words, it is only people over whom Lagos State has control, that they can inquire into their conduct. If you don’t have control over me, you can inquire into my conduct. Policemen, the Armed Forces, military, are not officers of Lagos states, they are officers of the Federal Government by virtue of the Constitution. It’s only the Federal Government that can control the conduct of policemen and the military. Lagos State is not in control and cannot legislate regarding police matters.”

His comments come days after the leaked report by the panel indicted the operatives of the Nigerian Army and Police, saying they indeed shot at unarmed protesters.


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#EndSARS Panel Report A Waste Of Time, Taxpayers Money – Lai Mohammed


While the report has yet to be officially released, days later, the panel submitted its findings to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

One of the reports was on claims of police brutality while the other was on the shooting in the Lekki area of Lagos State on October 20, 2020.

The Nigerian army had, however, denied shooting live rounds at protesters, telling the judicial panel that only blanks were used.

As part of efforts to further get to the root of the matter, Governor Sanwo-Olu on Monday, set up a four-member committee led by Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) to raise a White Paper on the reports submitted by the judicial panel.

Keyamo’s comments come two days before the committee is expected to submit its recommendations to the National Economic Council (NEC) for discussion and possible implementation.