The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has described the report submitted by the Lagos State EndSARS panel on police brutality as “completely illegal”, including the entire process.
The panel, in its report submitted to the Lagos State Government, last week, after months of inquiry, indicted Nigerian soldiers and police for shooting and killing at least nine protesters on October 20, 2020, at the Lekki Toll Gate.
Their conclusion corroborated PREMIUM TIMES published investigation on the unfortunate development.
However, with emphasis on the leaked panel report, Mr Keyamo, a lawyer, said the composition of the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led judicial panel of inquiry “contravenes the law and should not be taken seriously.”
“It is illegal, completely illegal, I know that no paper, no recommendation, nothing can come out of an illegal panel,” Mr Keyamo said on Sunday, on Channels Television live programme, Politics Today.
He aligned with stance of his colleague, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who has also dismissed the report and constantly denied the obvious killings at the tollgate.
In reference to Section 21 of the Tribunal Enquiry Act of state, the labour and employment minister argued that the decision of his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, to direct the setting up of committee by state governments to look into the conduct of security operatives “was more of a political decision rather than a legal decision at the time”.
“It says that the governor shall have 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, you know, 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 Office of the State is defined to me, somebody within the public service of Lagos state of the local government, as the case may be.
“If you look at Section 21, again of the tribunal of Inquiry law, it says that it has to be within the legislative competence of Lagos State.
“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,” he argued.
He accused the panel of ‘imbalance’, citing its position of not indicting citizens involved in the needless attacks on security operatives as it did to officers involved.
Having established his points, Mr Keyamo, said all views expressed on the platform were made as a ‘private citizen’ and lawyer, not as a minister under the current administration.
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