Lagos denies having a hand in the assassination plan, saying the accusation is preposterous,
The lawyer who secured a court ruling nullifying the power of the Lagos State Government to collect tolls on the newly constructed Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge has alleged that his life is in danger.
Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos, accused the Lagos State government and its agents of trying to assassinate him.
In its rebuttal, the state government described the allegation as “preposterous.”
According to the lawyer, armed men numbering about eight stormed his Lekki-Phase 1 home on Monday, April 14, at about 3 a.m.
“They were well armed with shot guns. They scaled through my fence, tied my security man and my driver, at my gatehouse. They asked if the compound belonged to Adegboruwa, if Adegboruwa had a mobile police guard, if Adegboruwa lived alone or had tenants, and whether my neighbour had policemen on patrol,” Mr. Adegboruwa said.
“They then started to demolish my window burglaries, they scaled upstairs to my terrace, to break into my living room upstairs, by which time I had already called for help, from the neighbours and from the police. They then tried to gain entrance into my kitchen downstairs, without success.
“They then descended upon my security man and driver, beat them up mercilessly and started uprooting my burglary with the heavy instruments that they brought.
“It was at this point that the police arrived, but the police could not gain entrance into my compound, because my security man had been tied. I saw the armed men myself from my location upstairs. They looked very mean and determined, possibly not the usual armed robbers after material things,” Mr. Adegboruwa added.
Three weeks ago, Justice Saliu Seidu of a Federal High Court in Lagos ruled that the Lagos State Government does not have an existing law permitting it to collect tolls on the newly constructed Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge.
Delivering judgment on a suit filed by Mr. Adegboruwa against the Lagos State Government over collection of toll on the bridge; the judge held that the state can only make a law to that effect, before it can collect toll on the bridge.
The Lagos State government had reacted swiftly after the ruling, filing a notice of appeal and an application for a stay of execution.
At the resumed hearing of the suit on Monday, there was a heated argument as Mr. Adegboruwa accused the state government of violating the judge’s ruling by continuing its toll collection on the bridge.
“They had shown that they were not going to obey the court’s judgment. As soon as the Attorney-General stepped out of the court, he had said they were not going to obey the judgment,” Mr. Adegboruwa had said.
Ade Ipaye, the state’s Attorney-General, had fired back insisting that the ruling did not make any declarative or consequential order barring toll collection on the Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge.
Referring to the heated proceedings the day before, Mr. Adegboruwa, in his statement on Tuesday, described the alleged attempt on his life as “a case of the witch cried yesterday and the child died today.”
“I do believe that this was an assassination attempt upon my life, by the enemies of the people of the masses of Nigeria, and in particular the good people of Lagos State, in the Lekki-Ajah axis,” the lawyer and human rights activist said.
“One of my neighbours has since confirmed that he actually saw a car that dropped off these armed men around my fence at about 2a.m. They were sent on specific instructions.
“I believe that those who have vested interests in the continued collection of the illegal toll fee are at the bottom of this assassination attempt, as a way of discouraging me or stopping my legitimate struggle against illegality, oppression and all undemocratic tendencies of our governments. I will not give up on this struggle, no matter the intimidation and harassment, that I may face. It is a cause that cannot be stopped.
“Consequently, I call on Nigerians to hold the Lagos State Government and all those who have vested interests in the Lekki Ikoyi bridge toll fee, responsible for any harm that may come my way. Our government must be open to legitimate opposition and transparency in their affairs.
“It is not by attempting to snuff the life out of people, that government will escape its statutory accountability to the people. My life is in the hands of God, therefore I do not fear what man can do to me. I know that ultimately, those who are now after my life, will one day face the Supreme Court of God, where they will have to account for all their misdeeds, including their corruption and mis-governance,” Mr. Adegboruwa added.
Lagos says allegation is ‘preposterous’
But in its reaction to the lawyer’s claims, the Lagos State government stated that it was disappointed at Mr. Adegboruwa for levelling unsubstantiated allegations against its officials.
In a letter addressed to Umar Manko, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, the state government called for an immediate investigation into the allegation to establish the veracity of the claims.
The letter was copied to A. B. Olayi, State Director, Department of State Security Services and Clement Adesuyi, State Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
“The State Government, as a consistent champion of rule of law and good governance, considers it preposterous that a legal practitioner of Mr. Adegboruwa’s standing would level such a grievous and unsubstantiated allegation against the Lagos State Government without any factual or empirical investigation being conducted, and without providing a shred of evidence in support of his claim,” Mr. Ipaye stated in the letter.
“Nevertheless, the safety and security of every single member of this society is of great concern to our Government.
“Having regard to the seriousness of Mr. Adegboruwa’s allegation, I hereby respectfully request your offices to please investigate the allegation for the purpose of establishing veracity of same and apprehending the alleged assailants.
“Kindly prioritise this investigation and make a report of your findings public as early as practicable,” Mr. Ipaye added.