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#EndSARS Report: Call Lai Mohammed To Order, Falana Tells Buhari

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…Says Minister’s Action Undermine Rule Of Law, Social Justice 

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

He stated this in a statement on Wednesday in reaction to the remarks of the minister on the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and other matters.

Falana noted that President Buhari had told United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, during a meeting recently that state governments would have to take steps on the reports of their panels before the Federal Government would act on the recommendations.

He stressed that by his action, Mohammed has overruled the President by rejecting the report of the panel in Lagos on behalf of the Federal Government.

The senior advocate also accused the minister of insulting the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, by rejecting the report of the panel instituted by him under the Tribunal of Enquiry Law of the state.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, according to him, has been presented with a fait accompli by the minister despite that he is still studying the report.

Falana faulted Mohammed, saying the action of the minister undermined the rule of law and social justice in the land.

He, therefore, urged the Lagos State government to ignore the rejection of the report by the minister, stressing that the Federal Government’s name was not clothed with any power under the Tribunal of Enquiry Law.

Read the full statement by the lawyer below:

FG Is Not Competent To Reject The Report Of Okuwobi Judicial Commission Of Inquiry

On November 18, 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari held a meeting in Abuja with Mr. Anthony Blinken, the United States Secretary of State. During the meeting, President Buhari said that the state governments in the country would have to take steps on the reports of their panels before the Federal Government acts on the recommendations.

In particular, the President said, “We at the federal have to wait for the steps taken by the states, and we have to allow the system to work. We can’t impose ideas on them. Federal Government has to wait for the reaction of the states.”

But in an utter display of executive rascality, Mr Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information has overruled the President by rejecting the report of the Lagos Panel on behalf of the Federal Government.

By not waiting “for the reaction of the states,” the Minister has overruled the President of the Republic. As if that was not enough, the Minister decided to insult the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu by rejecting the report of the Judicial Commission instituted by him under the Tribunal of Enquiry Law of Lagos State. Thus, the Governor who is currently studying the report has been presented with a fait accompli by the Minister. As far as Mr. Mohammed is concerned, the Governor must toe his line since the Lagos.

Mr. Mohammed has described the 309-page report of a Judicial tribunal as “fake news”. As a lawyer of many years standing, the Minister ought to have known that it is the height of arrogant contempt to describe the report of a Judicial Commission of Enquiry constituted under the Tribunal of Enquiry Law as “fake”.

It is regrettable to note that the Minister has failed to realise that the Lagos State Government is not an extension of the Federal Government but a sovereign entity under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Since the name of the Federal Government is not clothed with any power under the Tribunal of Enquiry Law, the purported rejection of the report by the Minister ought to be treated with disdain by the Lagos State Government.

In a press conference held on October 20, 2021, Mr. Mohammed had recalled that the National Economic Council had “directed State Governors to immediately forward copies of final reports of the panels to their Attorneys-General for prompt arraignment and prosecution of all indicted persons. Where incidents in the reports relate to matters of discipline, in addition to prosecution, NEC urged the Nigeria Police Force to take disciplinary action on the affected officers in line with the provisions of the Police Act 2020.” Has Mr. Mohammed overruled the collective decision of the National Economic Council?

However, it is pertinent to point out that Mr. Mohammed’s comment on the report lacks originality as it is a mere regurgitation of the jaundiced views of a couple of aggrieved individuals. The two individuals have tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to discredit the findings and recommendations of the body.

In a desperate attempt to mislead the Governor, both aggrieved persons have been campaigning for the total rejection of the report because of the so-called discrepancies and inconsistencies contained in the document. No doubt, these individuals are entitled to express their opinions on the report of the Commission. But the call for the rejection of the report is illegal in every material.

In December 2015, the Nigerian Army massacred hundreds of Shiites in Zaria and hurriedly buried their bodies in a mass grave at Mango in Kaduna State on the orders of the then Chief of Army Staff. Even though Mr. Mohammed said that the report of the genocidal attack was a hoax, the Justice Garba Judicial Commission of Enquiry instituted by the Kaduna State Government confirmed a casualty figure of 348 Shiites.

Six years thereafter, the authorities have ignored the recommendation of the Judicial Commission that the culprits be prosecuted. The Lagos Judicial Commission of Enquiry accepted the evidence of forensic experts to the effect that 99 dead bodies were dumped in the various mortuaries in Lagos State during the protests. Mr. Mohammed has described the massacre as “fake news”.

Finally, Mr. Mohammed’s callous comment on the cold murder of unarmed citizens at the Lekki Toll Gate is a sad reminder of his own experience under the same forces of brutalisation. On August 8, 2014, Mr. Mohammed, the then Publicity Secretary of the APC had left Lagos for Osogbo, Osun State in support of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s re-election bid.

Later that night, it was reported that he had been kidnapped by a team of hooded operatives of the State Security Service. I was aroused from my sleep by Governor Aregbesola who requested me to assist in searching for Mr. Mohammed. However, a couple of hours later, I was relieved when it was reported that he had regained his freedom.

But the PDP dismissed the kidnap story as a hoax emanating from the fecund imagination of Mr. Mohammed. Having completely crossed to the other side of the political divide, Mr. Mohammed conveniently regards news of the tragic massacre of unarmed citizens as fake.

Mr. Mohammed’s steps undermine the rule of law and social justice in the land. President Buhari should call him to order.

Femi Falana SAN

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Osinbajo Jets To Dubai, To Address Global LPG Forum

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Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday, departed Abuja to participate at the World Liquified Petroleum Gas Association forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

According to a statement issued by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, the VP is expected to deliver a keynote address at the event which would feature leaders, including top government ministers from across the world.

Also, some Chief Executives of major multinational corporations in the Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) sectors around the globe are expected to attend the week-long 2021 World LPG Week from Sunday through Thursday this week under the auspices of the Paris-based World LPG Association.

Prof. Osinbajo will be speaking on Tuesday at the forum, which is attracting over 2,000 delegates from 72 countries, on the theme of the LPG Week – “Energising Tomorrow.”

The World LGP Week, which will first be held in Amsterdam in 2019, is an annual event bringing together major LPG companies, senior public sector officials, industry experts and other relevant stakeholders.

This year’s LPG Week, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, creates the opportunity for global stakeholders to engage with the activities lined up, including a global exhibition, technology conference, the LPG Development Summit, among others.

The World LPG Association was established in 1987 and granted Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC, in 1989. WLPGA is the umbrella association which globally coordinates the LPG industry.

According to Laolu, the Vice President is expected back in Abuja on Thursday.

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Dowen College: My Son Is Not Involve In Sylvester Death, Sen. Kashamu’s Family Speaks

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The family of the late Senator Buruji Kashamu has denied the involvement of their son in the death of Sylvester Oromoni, 12-year-old pupil of Dowen College, Lekki.

Recall that Sylvester died from internal injuries days before his birthday after being assaulted by fellow students in Dowen College.

The deceased, before his death, mentioned some names of boys who assaulted him.

Kashamu’s son was one of the suspects named in the case.

However, the family in a statement issued by Mutairu Kashamu for the family, confirmed that although one of their sons, Michael Adewale Kashamu, was named among the suspected bullies of the deceased, he had no involvement in the death of Sylvester.

Part of the statement read: “The Kashamu family has been inundated with enquiries, calls and messages over the unfortunate incident at Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, that led to the untimely death of Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student of the College.

“Most commentators have rushed to conclusions based on assumptions and false information, including the allegation that our son Adewale Michael Kashamu was involved in the bullying or beating of Sylvester Oromoni.”

The family noted that it has conducted its private investigation since the story broke out and their son was just Sylvester’s school father the previous session.

”We as a family have made our own private enquiries and carefully questioned our son about his involvement. This is why we didn’t rush out to respond to the cyber-stalking, name-calling and negative commentaries that have taken over the social media about our son’s alleged involvement in this sad incident.

”Some of the true facts now slowly emerging from under the mass of lies are that: Our son, Adewale Michael Kashamu, had acted as a school father for the late Sylvester in his first session in the school at the request of Sylvester’s sister who is also a student of the school.

“However, in the 2021 session which began in September 2021 Adewale Michael Kashamu was moved to a different floor in the boarding house and engrossed in his own studies and activities, our son was no longer as close to Sylvester as in the previous session.”

The family condoled with the family of Late Sylvester Oromoni and appealed to all and sundry to hold their horses until the police and the Lagos State government have completed their independent investigations and established the truth.

Dowen College has been shut down indefinitely by the Lagos State government till investigation into Sylvester’s death is over.

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Omicron: FG Expresses Disappointment Over UK Govt’s Red Listing Of Nigeria

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The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has expressed disappointment over the United Kingdom government’s placement of Nigeria on its red list following the detection of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

“We were not very happy when six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were placed on a red list and the WHO also advised against putting each on the red list,” the minister said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, less than one day after the UK announced the move.

“From what we know about the COVID-19, there are many ways to manage it, and besides, not much is still known about the Omicron variant. We know, for example, that there have been no fatalities.

“There have also been no reports of very severe illness. Actually, the rationale for being so hasty in putting countries on the red list is not something that is very helpful.”

According to the minister, the move was ill-advised as he noted that it would have multiple impacts on commerce, and disrupt activities during the Christmas and New Year festivities.

“It is going to disrupt commerce,” he added. It is going to disrupt family reunions.”
Ban List Not ‘Helpful’

He explained that while Nigeria has detected the COVID-19 virus on travellers from the UK, the cases have not been confirmed to be the Omicron variant.

While reiterating that the placement of countries on the red list will not help in the global fight against the pandemic, Ehanire said Nigeria is anticipating the fourth wave of the disease.

“If every country were going to put other countries on the ban list, very soon you would have a large number of countries on your red list,” the minister said.

“So, I do believe there are other ways of going about it. We in Nigeria do not regard banning flights and movements of people as particularly helpful and supportive.”

The UK’s move, which came a few days after Nigeria detected the new strain, followed a similar decision by the Canadian authorities.

“Foreign nationals who have transited or stayed in these 10 countries cannot enter Canada if they have been in those countries in the last two weeks,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told a press conference.

Aside from Nigeria, Egypt and Malawi were the other countries recently added to Canada’s travel ban list.

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