Lagos #EndSARS Panel Was Illegal, States Can’t Probe Military, Police – Keyamo

Festus Keyamo says the Lagos judicial panel on police brutality was “illegal and a waste of time”.

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN) has dismissed the report by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the shooting incident that occurred last year during the #EndSARS protest at the Lekki Toll Gate.

Lagos #EndSARS Panel Was Illegal, States Can’t Probe Military, Police - Keyamo

KanyiDaily had reported how soldiers opened fire on #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate, on Tuesday night, October 21, 2020, killing an unconfirmed number of persons and injuring so many others.

According to the 309-page report submitted by the Lagos Judicial Panel on Monday, November 15, 2021, nine protesters were confirmed dead while four others were presumed dead.

The report listed 48 names as casualties of the Lekki shooting. Among which, 24 sustained gunshot injuries, while 15 others were assaulted by soldiers and police.

The panel which was headed by Justice Doris Okuwobi, also noted that 96 other corpses were presented by a Forensic Pathologist of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Professor John Obafunwa.

The report indicted the Nigerian Police and Army for killing “unarmed helpless and defenseless protesters, without provocation or justification, while they were waving the Nigerian Flag and singing the National Anthem” at the Lekki Toll Gate.

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Keyamo Reacts To Lagos EndSARS Report

During an interview on Channels Television on Sunday, the minister said the report was “illegal and a waste of time”, adding that the Lagos state government, which set up the judicial panel, lacks the power to probe the conduct of police and military officers.

He said, “I will not answer this question as a sitting minister. I will answer this question as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria – a member of the Inner Bar, and so I am entitled to my opinion. This is not the Federal Government’s position. From me, that panel was an illegal panel. It was totally illegal.

“All lawyers who are listening to me should go back and read the Tribunals of Enquiry Act of Lagos State. It says that the governor will have the powers to inquire into the conduct of any person – underline any person – and chieftaincy matters and any other matter that will promote the good of the public.

“However, ‘any person’ there was defined in Section 21 to mean public officers of the state. It is defined to mean somebody within the public service of Lagos State or of the local government as the case may be.

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“Then, the phrase was used at the end of Section 1 that says ‘any matter’…that they can inquire into any matter. People now think that to inquire into any matter, it means that you can just be at large.

“However, if you look at Section 21 again, it says that it has to be within the legislative competence of Lagos State. In other words, it is only people over whom the Lagos State has control that they can inquire into their conduct. If you don’t have control over me, you cannot inquire into my conduct.

“Policemen, the Armed Forces, military; they are not under or officers of Lagos State, they are officers of the Federal Government. By virtue of the Constitution, it is only the Federal Government that can control the conduct of policemen and the military.

“Lagos State cannot be in control; they cannot legislate too, regarding police and military matters; they are on the Exclusive Legislative List. To inquire into the conduct of policemen and military, no state government can’t do that.”

KanyiDaily recalls that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed had also dismissed the report which he described as “fake news, tales by moonlight”, saying that the Lagos Judicial panel shockingly compiled and submitted allegations made by Nigerians on social media.

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