Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), a member of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and other matters, has described as “uncharitable” following efforts by the Lagos State government to discredit the panel’s report on the Lekki Toll Gate shooting.
Adegboruwa said this in a statement issued on Friday in reaction to comments made by Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), the counsel to the state government, concerning the report.
The panel, in its report submitted to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, on Monday, after over one year of investigation, stated that at least nine #EndSARS protesters were killed at the toll gate, and added that the actions of the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force on the night of October 20, 2020, can be equated to a massacre.
Reacting to the report, Owonikoko, in an interview on The Morning Show on Arise TV, faulted the report, claiming that he has identified 40 discrepancies contained herein.
The Lagos government counsel also questioned the integrity of the panel members, especially Adegboruwa. He claimed that some members of the panel, initially established to investigate abuses by the disbanded SARS officers, were already biased, especially following their antecedent with the security forces, and the government should have constituted another panel to specifically deal with the Lekki incident.
But responding, Adegboruwa said it is improper for the state government, through its counsel, to attack and disparage the report on the basis of technicalities.
According to the senior lawyer, he participated at the panel’s hearing with other members and is, therefore, entitled to sign the report, contrary to Owonikoko’s submission.
The statement read: “I have listened to the narratives of the Lagos State Government through one of its Learned Senior Counsel at the #EndSARS Panel, to the effect that Nigerians should reject the report of the Panel because I signed it, since I was not present at some of the sittings of the Panel.
“I served on the Panel on the mandate of the Governor of Lagos State, who told me on telephone that I was chosen to represent CIVIL SOCIETY. I requested for and approval was granted in writing, that my appointment was on a part-time basis. Furthermore, the Governor told me that two members were chosen to represent civil society on the Panel so that one of us would always be present at the Panel to excuse the absence of the other. I accepted the appointment in good faith, to serve the people, to calm frayed nerves at the time and also to restore normalcy to Lagos State. So, at all times, I functioned in partnership with my colleague from civil society, and there was no major sitting of the Panel in which both of us were absent.
“I also served on the Panel free of charge, from October 19, 2020, when the Panel was inaugurated till November 15, 2021, when the Panel submitted its report. The government was well aware of my identity, my perspectives, my philosophies and my general convictions, at least since my university days, before it nominated me into the Panel, that I will always say things the way they are. All Panel members acted in good faith, independently and in the fear of God Almighty.
“My principled struggles in respect of toll fee collection started way back from 2011, almost nine years before the Panel was inaugurated. Indeed, the Governor said that these were the factors that favoured my selection as a member of the Panel. Will I then deny myself, forfeit my reputation and discredit my constituency, my colleagues in the Nigerian Bar Association and comrades in civil society, in order to please anybody or cover up the truth? NEVER!
“It is therefore improper for Lagos State Government, through its lawyer that appeared before the Panel and other sponsored agents, to subject the report of the Panel and indeed the integrity of Panel members to media trials and attacks, all in the bid to build up the contents of its White Paper, which we can now reasonably foretell, from these sponsored media attacks.”
On the issue of the discrepancies, Adegboruwa said the panel has documents to back up and defend the report submitted to the Governor, insisting that the panel was unanimous in its recommendation.
He urged the state government to focus on the recommendations in the report instead of seeking to build anticipation to discredit the panel’s report in the expected White Paper or demonise panel members.
The statement read: “It is indeed uncharitable for the same government that urged the Panel not to be held down by strict rules of technicalities of law in order to unravel the real truth about the Lekki Toll Gate Incident, to now through its counsel, talk about alleged legal discrepancies, to frustrate the good work of the Panel that it set up.
“There are documents to back up and defend the report submitted to the Governor by the Panel but I have chosen to defer to His Excellency and to await the White Paper as promised because I believe that the Governor meant well in setting up the Panel and giving us free hand to operate. I appeal to His Excellency to continue in that note of sincerity.
“There is no minority report from the Panel as the report submitted to the Governor on November 15, 2021 was unanimously endorsed by all members of the Panel, who worked tirelessly, day and night, to serve the government and the people, even at great risks to their health, personal safety, career and family obligations and their general well-being.
“I’m very sure that Panel members would have been lionized to the highest heavens if we had bought into the narrative of the government before the Panel that it was criminals, cultists, hoodlums and unknown gunmen that operated at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.
“I urge the government to focus on the findings and far-reaching recommendations contained in the report, in order to pursue the laudable objectives of setting up the Panel to achieve true healing and reconciliation, instead of seeking to demonise Panel members and their report or to evade responsibility. God bless Nigeria.”
Two Men Stabs RCCG Pastor To Death After Giving Life To Christ In Lagos
Suspected hoodlums have attacked and killed a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in FESTAC Town, in the Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Punch reports that the victim, Pastor Babatunde Dada, was killed inside the RCCG Chapel of Resurrection on 13 Road, 6th Avenue, FESTAC Town.
The killing, which happened on Thursday, December 2, was saidd to have been perpetrated by two new converts who came to the church for the first time a Sunday before the incident.
The two youths were said to have come out during an altar call and surrendered their lives to Jesus.
The church accommodated them on its premises after they claimed to be stranded.
They had barely spent a week in the church when they reportedly stabbed the cleric to death.
A senior pastor in the church, Akin Odejare, declined comment on the incident.
However, the wife of the pastor, Bose, narrated the incident to newsmen she said she called her husband on the day of the incident and he promised to come home to rest.
She said, “My husband was killed on December 2 at the church. He was the admin/accounts officer, as well as the parish pastor. I was not with him when he was killed, but I was told that they collected money from him. I heard that those who killed him were new converts.”
A family member, who is also a security expert, Mr Abolarinwa Olatunbosun, said the pastor was killed after withdrawing money from a bank.
He said, “The pastor went to a bank to withdraw some money and went to rest on the first floor of the church. Two persons said to be new converts went to meet him upstairs, broke his head and killed him.
“The matter was reported to the police and one of the suspects, who ran to Ilorin, has been arrested.”
Olatunbosun said the killing might be for ritual purposes, adding that the assailants were suspected Internet fraudsters, aka Yahoo boys.
The expert said criminals were beginning to attack churches and pastors because they believed there was money in church.
He advised religious centres to be security conscious and put in place strategies that could stop criminals from killing, kidnapping and robbing leaders and worshippers.
A friend of the slain pastor, Fred Enemigin, who is the founder, Highflyers International, Lagos, said in a Facebook post that the pastor was stabbed multiple times.
He wrote, “Two boys had come to church last Sunday and they responded to the altar call by giving their lives to Christ. After church service, they waited to see the head pastor and told him that they were stranded without any place to stay.
“On compassionate grounds, the pastor allowed them to stay somewhere within the church premises pending when they would be resettled. Pastor Tunde Dada, who had for almost a decade been the accountant of RCCG Chapel of Resurrection Parish, was assigned to provide needed welfare for the boys until their matter would be sorted.
“On the fateful Thursday, Tunde was seated in his office and the boys targeting that they were alone on the church premises with him, entered his office and attacked him with knives and other sharp weapons. He was stabbed multiple times and places until they had him killed right there on the spot.
“Our minds are still searching for what the rift between the boys and Tunde was considering the fact that the Tunde we knew was a very gentle soul. Could they have asked for more welfare than what was approved for them and Tunde declined? What on earth would warrant this brutal killing by those who were recipients of a server of the church’s benevolence? There are many more questions that we have not found answers to.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said he had yet to be briefed about the case.
Six Students Expelled From Kwara State Poly For Submitting Fake OND Result
Kwara State Polytechnic has expelled six Higher National Diploma (HND) students for submitting fake Ordinary National Diploma (OND) certificates.
The school management made the announcement on Wednesday.
A statement by the Principal Assistant Registrar, Academic Matter Board, Mr Onikoko Saliu, accused the affected students of forging their ND certificates.
The statement read in part, “Sequel to the discovery of your involvement in the submission of fake/forged National Diploma certificates, contrary to the matriculation oath you swore to, the Kwara State Polytechnic management has approved your immediate expulsion from the polytechnic.
“Your expulsion is in line with the provision in the reviewed Students’ Information and Regulation Handbook, 2019.”
“You have therefore ceased to be a student at the polytechnic and should hand over all polytechnic properties in your possession to the Head of Department or the appropriate polytechnic officials.
The affected Students include Jessey Osariemhen, Department of Estate Management (HND19ETMFT137); Quadir Toheeb Olamilekan, Department of Business Administration (HND19BAMFT600); and Eyeowa Tomiwa Oluwakemi, Department of Public Administration (HND19PADFT592.)
Others are Yusuf Zainab Abake, Department of Public Administration (HND19PADFT592); Lawal Abdulrahman Lawal, Department of Banking and Finance (HND19BFNFT380); and Adeyeye Ademola Blessing, Department of Banking and Finance, (HND19BFNFT555).”
The polytechnic also advised the affected students to strictly comply with the directive so as to avoid litigation.
EFCC arraigns lawyer for N4.2m land fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Maiduguri Zonal Command today, December 8, 2021 arraigned one Hussaini Mohammed Hussaini, a legal practitioner before Justice Aisha Kumaliya of the State High Court sitting in Maiduguri on a one count charge of land fraud to the tune of N4, 200, 000.00 (Four Million, Two Hundred Thousand Naira).
The defendant allegedly swindled the nominal complainant over sale of two plots of land which he claimed he had the owners’ instruction to sell.
However, investigation revealed that the defendant was neither a custodian of the land nor acquainted with the owner.
The charge reads: ‘‘That you, Hussaini M. Hussaini sometime in September, 2021 at Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court fraudulently induced Suleiman Abiodun by deceiving him to deliver the total sum of Four Million, Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N4, 200, 000.00), being money allegedly for the payment of two plots of land measuring 200ft by 100ft lying and situated at 44G Damboa Road, between Federal Road Safety Office and Federal Metro Radio Station, via Bank transfer from his Zenith Bank account number 2083694059 to account number 2119265725 domiciled at UBA, with account name; Alhassan Sanusi, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 320 of Penal Code Law Cap 102, Laws of Borno State 1994 and punishable under Section 322 of the same Law.’’
The defendant pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charge.
Upon his plea, prosecution counsel, Fatsuma Mohammed asked for a trial date and urged the court to remand the defendant in the Correctional Centre. Attempt by counsel to the defendant, Ernest Bayo to move oral bail application for his client was refused as Justice Kumaliya insisted that bail application must be filed and served on all parties including the court before his prayer could be heard.
She adjourned the matter till January 17, 2022 for commencement of trial.
The defendant was remanded in the Correctional Facility.
In a similar development, one David Osigbe Irumekhai was also arraigned before Justice Kumaliya for his alleged involvement in a N9, 900, 000.00 (Nine Million, Nine Hundred Thousand Naira) contract scam.
David obtained the money from his victim under the guise of financing five ‘Purchase Orders’ purportedly emanating from Terres Des Homme, International Medical Corps and International Organization for Migration and promised to pay back once the contracts were executed.
He however converted the money for his own use, deploying a huge chunk into funding his sports betting account.
The charge reads: ‘‘That you David Osigbe Irumekhai sometime in November, 2020 in Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dishonestly converted to your own use the total sum of Nine Million Nine Hundred Thousand Naira (N9, 900, 000.00) being money belonging to Nuhu Titus and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 308 of Penal Code Law Cap 102, Laws of Borno State 1994 and Punishable under Section 309 of the same Law.’’
He pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him.
In view of his plea, prosecution counsel, Fatsuma Mohammed asked for a trial date and urged the court to remand the defendant in prison.
Justice Kumaliya adjourned the matter till January 25, 2022 for commencement of trial and remanded the defendant in the Correctional Centre.
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