Sunday, 05 December 2021 07:32

#EndSARS White Paper: The panel arrived at a conclusion without premise - Comrade Nelson Ekujumi

The Spokesperson Coalition of Concerned Civil Society Groups, Comrade Nelson Ekujumi stated that the panel arrived at a conclusion without premise

The human right and good governance advocate, said this in an interview as a guest on CityTalks with Reuben Abati where he seemed to have agreed with the position of the Lagos State government on the White Paper Report.

Ekujumi opined that the Whitepaper has come to do justice to inconsistencies.

The White Paper on the Judicial Panel of Inquiry report set up to investigate the Lekki Toll Gate incident on October 20, 2020 has elicited mixed opinions.

On October 20, 2020, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu launched a judicial panel led by Justice Doris Okuwobi to investigate petitions alleging police brutality in the state and alleged protester shootings.

The panel issued two reports on November 15, one on police brutality cases and the other on the probe into the Lekki incident.

Following the panel's report's submission, Sanwo-Olu formed a four-member team to draft a white paper on the panel's recommendations.

The white-paper committee will be chaired by Lagos Attorney-General Moyosore Onigbanjo.

The Lagos State Government revealed in the 24-page document that it accepted eleven (11), rejected one (1), and accepted six (six) with modifications out of the 32 recommendations made by the Judicial Panel of Inquiry in its Report dated November 15, 2021.

Fourteen (14) proposals fall outside of Lagos State government's powers and will be referred to the Federal Government for consideration.

Ekujumi stated that he found it worrisome that the findings of the Judicial panel were not based on facts and evidence, but was premised on “hearsay.”

According to him, there are many inconsistencies and contradictions in the report that was submitted by the Justice Okuwobi’s panel.

He recalled three observations he had noticed in the report; “Nathaniel Solomon who said that his younger brother, Solomon Abuta was killed at the Lekki Toll gate.

“In the findings, I saw his name among the deceased.

“And that tells you that something is wrong with the Judicial Panel report and findings,” Ekujumi said.

He added, “When you look at the story concerning the death of his brother, this was a petitioner whose story was not corroborated by any utter of evidence.”

Another instance, Ekujumi mentioned was that of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Maroko Police Station and his men who were alleged by petitioners of being responsible for deaths of protesters on October 20, 2020 after the army had left.

The DPO was allegedly wearing white jalabia when he led his men to the toll gate and shot at protesters and killed them. 

He said, when the petitioners were asked about photo or video evidence of the DPO with white Jalabia bearing arms with his men; they didn’t have.

He stated further, that when the counsel summoned the DPO, he challenged his accusers to produce any iota of evidence to back up their claim. In addition, he told the panel that wearing a jalabia is not part of the police uniform, and that he could never have done so for safety and security reasons while on an operation.

Ekujumi added that when the petitioners were called for a rebuttal; they had no evidence.

Another mention by Ekujumi, was that of someone who was awarded N10 million who was not a petitioner.

He said, “From my own little understanding of the Judiciary, they are not a father Christmas.

“The person is not a petitioner; how did the panel resolve that they should give her N10million?”

When field with question concerning by Dr Reuben Abati about the position of Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), where the SAN said that the Lagos State is not in the position or has no power to either accept or reject recommendations of the panel, and what is regarded as inconsistencies are basically computer errors and there are more revelations that he will be willing to bring to the table.

In a reaction by Ekujumi, “if Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN, has any quarrel with the findings of the panel’s report and as well as the white paper released by the government, he has the option of going to court to challenge the white paper or the legality of the white paper.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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