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Lagos EndSARS Panel submits report one year after inauguration

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Lagos EndSARS panel submits report to Governor Sanwo Olu
Lagos EndSARS panel submits report to Governor Sanwo-Olu

The Lagos State Judicial Panel on #EndSARS has today, November 15, 2021, submitted its report to the Lagos State Government, in a brief ceremony at Government House, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

The chairman of the panel said:

“The Panel was inaugurated on October 19, 2020, to look into complaints of citizens against human rights abuses by the police. Following the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, the Terms of Reference of the Panel was expanded to cover that incident.

“The Panel sat for well over one year, listening to testimonies of petitioners, their witnesses, experts and lawyers. The Panel divided its assignment and report into two principal segments to cover general cases of police abuses and the special case of the Lekki Toll Gate Incident.

Deal of the day

“Compensation was paid to deserving cases of police abuses while a special case was made for victims of the Lekki Toll Gate Incident of October 20, 2020.

“True to his word, the Governor of Lagos State granted total independence to the Panel, as we worked according to our conscience and based upon our common convictions.

“Specifically for the Lekki Toll Gate Investigation, we set up certain crucial issues for determination, as to whether:

“There was any protest at the Lekki Toll Gate, the nature of the protest, the presence and mission of soldiers at the Lekki Toll Gate, whether blank or live bullets were shot by the soldiers, whether there was any death and if so, the numbers involved, whether there was any massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, and if so, what evidence is available in proof thereof, whether the police were at the Lekki Toll Gate and if so, whether they shot and killed the protesters, etc.

“The Panel answered these questions truthfully, frankly and courageously, based on the evidence led before it, believing that the crimes against humanity that took place at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, would never happen again in our nation.

“In particular, the Panel affirmed the rights of the people of Nigeria to constitutionally guaranteed freedom of lawful assembly and peaceful protests, freedom of association and freedom of expression.

“The Panel made far-reaching recommendations concerning the major actors that were found culpable, in order to achieve true healing and reconciliation.

“Although I have my own copy of the report of the Panel, I will trust His Excellency the Governor of Lagos State to fulfill his promise to Nigerians to make the findings and recommendations of the Panel public. That is the only way to build a true nation and avoid a repeat of the atrocious acts of security agencies against our people, especially the youths, the vulnerable and the helpless.

“I thank the Government and people of Lagos State, fellow Panel members, the Nigerian Bar Association, Civil Society, our Comrades far and near, the media and all those who inspired and encouraged us on the path of truth and justice.

“At the presentation ceremony today, the Governor promised two things:

1. To set up a Four-Man Committee led by the Honourable Attorney-General to prepare a White Paper for the purpose of implementing the findings and recommendations expressed in the report and to give it legal backing; and

2. To send the report to the National Economic Council for implementation.

“It is my view that Lagos State having appeared before the Panel as a party, having tendered documents before the Panel and led witnesses to take a position on the Incident of the Lekki Toll Gate, it will be unfair and improper for Lagos State to be a judge in its own cause, by seeking to review the report of the Panel. However, the Governor explained to me that this would only be done to enable the government implement the findings and recommendations of the Panel and not to tamper with it or mutilate it. I believe His Excellency.

“I will however keep observing the turn of events and at the appropriate time, one may be forced to state the FULL contents of the report if the promises made are not fulfilled.

“I can NEVER and will NEVER subscribe to anything that would amount to covering up the report of the Panel.

“We have done our work in the best way that we could. Nigerians should demand for justice against all culprits who have been named in detail, in our report.

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Minister urges labour unions not to shut down power supply

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Power Transmission

The Federal Ministry of Power has urged labour unions not to go through with their threat to shut down power supply in the Federal Capital Territory and other states.

This was contained in a statement by the Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jedy Agba.

The statement reads:

“The attention of the Federal Ministry of Power has been drawn to a threat by a section of Labour unions in the power sector, to the effect that it would shut down power supply in the Federal Capital Territory and beyond.

“That union is anchoring this threat on a situation in the ownership tussle of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), which has made the company fail in some responsibilities to workers.

“We are also aware that the Unions in the sector have been part of the solution to this problem and therefore know the facts and stage of the efforts towards solving the problem, as far as workers rights are concerned.

“We also note that such problems are not peculiar to the AEDC. The Federal Ministry of Power, therefore, calls on the Union to be cautious and responsible to avoid endangering the fragile state of our electricity infrastructure which the present Government is working hard to strengthen.

“It is also worthy of note that Labour matters have a procedure to address them and the unions are enjoined to follow due process to pursue its legitimate right. Doing the contrary, have other consequences including economic sabotage and related offences.

“The Federal Ministry of Power has taken up the leadership of efforts to engage relevant stakeholders including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to resolve this problem very soon.

“All Nigerians are hereby enjoined to be alert as we plead with the aggrieved unions to toe the line of peace and dialogue.

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Lagos APC Faction Defects To PDP

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Saraki and Abdul Azeez Olajide Adediran of Lagos4Lagos movement

A faction within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, ‘Lagos4Lagos Movement’, has defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The faction, which is headed by Olajide Adediran, defected to the PDP at an event held in Lagos on Saturday.

On hand to receive the defectors into the PDP was Bukola Saraki, a former Senate president and ex-Kwara State governor.

The Lagos4Lagos Movement has been critical of the reign and stronghold of APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu, saying no one has the right to impose governors and political office holders in the state.

The Adediran faction had in September 2021 held a parallel local government congress at different locations in the state, condemning the leadership of the party in the state for adopting consensus as the option for electing ward executives.

It had alleged impunity, imposition and marginalisation in the party for its action but the congress of the movement was not recognised by the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker committee.

In a video posted on his Facebook page, Saraki called for a voice vote on the group’s defection from APC to PDP.

“Those in favour that Lagos4Lagos should move to PDP say ‘aye’,” Saraki said, calling for a vote in the manner done at plenary at the senate.

Members of the group chorused “aye” in response and Saraki said, “the ayes have it”.

He, however, did not ask if any members were against defecting to PDP.

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White Paper Review Of Lagos #EndSARS Panel Report Illegal, Says Falana

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Falana

Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer, has described the White Paper produced by the Lagos State government from the state’s Judicial Panel of Inquiry into the Lekki Toll Gate shooting as illegal.

Falana, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), made his stance known in a statement on Friday.

The Lagos State government on Tuesday released its White Paper of the panel’s report, which was submitted to Babajde Sanwo-Olu, the state governor, on 15 November.

The panel had in its report stated that nine persons were killed during the #EndSARS protest at the toll gate on October 20, 2020, adding that the action of the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force on the night could be equated to a massacre.

However, the state government dismissed the findings of the panel, describing the report of deaths as “assumptions and speculations”.

The government also faulted the duplication of names and details in the report, saying it created contradictions, as well as “doubts and gaps”.

But speaking on the development, Falana said the White Paper committee set up by Governor Sanwo-Olu lacked the legal backing and competence to edit, modify, alter or reject the report of the commission.

Citing section 15 (2) of the Tribunals of Inquiry Law of Lagos State, Falana said the report of the judicial panel is as effective as a judgment of the Lagos state high court, thus its findings can only be challenged in a competent court.

He wrote: “When the government set up a White Paper committee a fortnight ago, I questioned its legal validity. It was my view that since the committee is unknown to law, the members were not competent to edit, modify, alter, edit or reject the report of the commission, more so, that the members of White Paper committee did not have the opportunity of taking evidence from the witnesses who had testified before the commission.

“I argued further than that the governor cannot reject the report, summary of evidence and findings of the Okuwobi Judicial Commission in any material particular.

“I am not unaware that it is the practice of governments to issue a white paper on the report of a commission of inquiry. But since there is no provision for a White Paper under the law the Lagos state government is bound by the findings and recommendations of the Panel.

“Therefore, any institution and individual indicted by the commission may wish to approach the High Court to challenge any aspect of the report. Since the White Paper committee is illegal its findings are of no moment.

“By insisting that only one person was killed at the Lekki Toll Gate, the writers of the White Paper contradicted an earlier statement by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu that two people were killed following a violent attack on peaceful protesters by Nigerian soldiers.”

 

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