…Insists White Paper Not Recognized By Law
The concept of White Paper in the official treatment of reports authored by judicial commissions of inquiry is not known to the Nigerian law, leading lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, disclosed on Thursday.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) went legal to stress why the report of the panel that investigated the Lekki tollgate shooting of October 20, 2020, cannot be tampered with, by both the federal and Lagos State governments.
His verdict would be a blow to the ongoing administrative process being undertaken by the state government on the panel report, as the committee set up by the governor has a few more days to submit a White Paper on the report.
In a speech delivered when some leaders of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) visited him in Lagos, the advocate also said Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is constitutionally-barred from rejecting the report, noting that the court of law is the only option available to those indicted.
Apart from claiming White Paper is unknown to law, he added that members of the White Paper committee set up by the governor are also not legally-competent to alter the report as submitted by the panel.
“We are not unaware of the purported rejection of the report of the commission by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed and the pressure on the White Paper committee by some anti-democratic forces to advise the governor to jettison the findings and recommendations of the commission.
“Such critics are certainly not aware that there is no provision for the issuance of a White Paper under the law. In other words, a White Paper is a mere administrative medium for conveying the decision or position of the government on the report of an administrative or judicial enquiry.
“Therefore, since the White Paper committee is not known to law, its members are not competent to edit, modify, alter, edit or reject the report of the commission. More so, that the members of White Paper committee did not have the opportunity of taking evidence from the witnesses who had testified before the commission.”
Noting that the survival of the report is even beyond the governor, Falana added, “With respect, the governor cannot reject the report, summary of evidence and findings of the Okuwobi Judicial Commission. Thus, by virtue of Section 15(2) of the Law, the governor is only empowered to ‘make any order in relation to any property or other matter dealt with in the report; and such order when made may be delivered to the Registrar of a High Court (which order the Registrar is empowered and required to receive and register without payment of fee) and when so delivered, the order will have effect as a judgment of that High Court and may be enforced accordingly but will not be reviewed in any court by prerogative order or by any other means and, no appeal will lie from the order.
“In the case of Williams v Dawodu (1988) 4 NWLR (PT 87) 189, the court annulled the aspect of the law that equated the order may pursuant to the findings of a judicial commission to the judgment of the High Court. Once a White Paper is issued by the governor on the recommendations, the institutions and individuals indicted by the commission may wish to approach the High Court to challenge any aspect of the report.
“The order of the governor in respect of the findings and recommendations of the judicial commission may be delivered to the registrar of a High Court (which order the registrar is empowered and required to receive and register without payment of fee) and when so delivered the order will have effect as a judgment of that High Court and may be enforced accordingly…
“Once the order is registered by the Registrar any institution or individual who is dissatisfied with any aspect of the report of the commission is at liberty to approach the High Court for legal redress.
“In Williams v Dawodu (supra), the Lagos State High Court had granted an interim order of injunction restraining the judicial commission of enquiry set up to probe the cold murder of the Dawodu brothers in Lagos during a riot. The ground for the injunction was that the police had charged the persons suspected to have killed the deceased.
“But the Court of Appeal deprecated the injunctive relief. Speaking for the court, Akpata JCA (as he then was and of blessed memory) held that ‘… if the tribunal ascertains and determines the extent of damage or loss suffered by the said families, and this is followed by reparation by the state government of such damage or loss, the reparation may assuage their pain or sense of loss. Also, an inquiry may prevent a future occurrence of such civil disturbances. It seems to me both morally and legally wrong to prevent the state government from carrying out its responsibilities to the generality of the people of this state.”
Encouraging the governor to be bold and affirmative, the rights lawyer asked him to reject overtures by federal agents.
“Having regard to the letter and spirit of the Tribunal of Enquiry Law, it is submitted that the Federal Government lacks the legal competence to reject the report of a panel of enquiry duly constituted by the Lagos State government.
“Therefore, Governor Sanwo-Olu should not hesitate to reject the gratuitous call for the rejection of the report of the Lagos judicial commission by Mr Lai Mohammed.
“Indeed, the governor may wish to draw the attention of the minister to the case of Fawehinmi v Babangida (2003) 12 WRN 1 where the Supreme Court held that the power of the president to set a tribunal of enquiry is limited to the Federal Capital Territory as ‘the National Assembly cannot enact a general law for the establishment of tribunals of inquiry for, and applicable in the Federation of Nigeria.”
He said the panel, having awarded reparation to the tune of N409 million to other victims of police brutality that had occurred in the state, Governor Sanwo-Olu is legally obligated to implement the remaining recommendations of the commission.
“On moral grounds, the governor is equally bound by the directive of the National Economic Council to immediately forward a copy of final report of the panel to the Attorney-General for prompt arraignment and prosecution of all indicted persons,” he said.
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It’s Impossible For FG To Borrow N1.1trn To Meet ASUU’s Demand, Says Umahi
Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State says the Nigerian government cannot borrow N1.1 trillion to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) who have been on strike for over five months.
The Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum said this on Wednesday when he received a delegation from the Nigeria Police Trust Fund led by Dr. Ben Akabueze, in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi capital.
“There is no way Nigeria will go and borrow N1.1tn to meet ASUU’s demand, it’s quite unreasonable. Are their demands genuine? Yes. But we can start little by little,” the governor said.
“There must be a commitment on the side of both parties that look, ‘ASUU is not asking for this to take to their houses’ so to say. It’s asking for it for our children, to better the infrastructure, to better the lecturers and the students. Yes, but we can start with a fraction of that and then have a programme that will run on the platform of sincerity to address all the lots.”
He also called on varsities lecturers to show some level of understanding so the strike can end.
“So, it is important for ASUU to show some understanding and for those who are negotiating on the side of government to also show some understanding,” he added.
“Let’s meet ourselves halfway and then open the schools to save the fate of our children.”
The governor, who equally faulted the poor maintenance culture in the country, added that there is a need to work on it.
“But let me also say that most of the time, our people have a low appetite for maintenance of public works,” Umahi said.
“No matter how much you deploy to these universities unless the users and the industry regulators begin to treat public infrastructure as their own in the various universities, it will continue to go bad.
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2023: You Need Wike For Your Rescue Mission, Mimiko Tells PDP
…Says Rivers Gov Has Been The Party’s Solid Rock
Olusegun Mimiko says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) needs Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike for its rescue mission in the next general elections.
The former Ondo State governor spoke on Wednesday at the flag-off ceremony for the construction of the Azikiwe -Iloabuchi Road in Mile 2 Diobu, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“Your Excellency, our Party, the PDP, a Party for which you have laboured so much, seems saddled with the historical duty of forging this unity, a unity premised on truth, equity, and justice, a unity upon which rescuing Nigeria from the far from satisfactory performance of the past seven years will be built,” he said during the event.
“It is a mission that must be accomplished. A mission for which you are specially positioned and favoured to play a major role. A mission that must be subscribed to by all lovers of our country.”
He explained that when some forces tried to destroy the PDP, Wike was a bulwark that resisted such attempts.
“Beyond the self-evident physical transformation, you (Wike) have stood as a bulwark against those sworn to emasculate the main opposition party, all in their bid to force a one-party State down the throats of Nigerians,” Mimiko added.
“You were at one point virtually a one-man countervailing force, defending and protecting our dear PDP. You have also, through bold legal challenges, deepened the national consciousness on the defects in the running of our defective federal system.”
Mimiko’s comment came amid speculations that the Rivers Governor may dump the PDP following a fallout with the party after its presidential primary.
Wike lost to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in the exercise, a development that has since caused a rift between him and Adama-born politician.
The PDP is making reconciliatory moves but Wike’s recent invitation of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos (a state governed by the leading All Progressives Congress, APC) to commission a project has generated further speculations that he may leave the PDP.
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Real Madrid Beat Frankfurt 2-0, Clinch UEFA Super Cup
Goals from David Alaba and Karim Benzema gave Real Madrid a 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt and a fifth UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday.
While Frankfurt were dangerous, particularly in the first half, Madrid’s experience and individual quality saw them through, as it did so often in their victorious 2021-22 Champions League campaign.
Frankfurt had the best of the early stages, with Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois forced into a stunning anticipation save when one-on-one with Daichi Kamada in the 14th minute.
Madrid almost got their first, when Benzema released Vinicius to curl past Kevin Trapp in the penalty box, only for Tuta to clear the ball off the line.
With Madrid dominating possession, Frankfurt mounted several counter-attacks until Madrid launched a counter of their own in the 37th minute.
A diving Trapp got his fingertips to a goal-bound shot by Vinicius, pushing the ball out for a corner.
From the ensuing play, Benzema linked with Casemiro just next to the right post.
The Brazilian sucked in several Frankfurt defenders and a diving Trapp, before heading back to an unmarked Alaba who scored from close range.
After the goal, Madrid stepped it up a gear and should have gone 2-0 up, with Benzema uncharacteristically dragging the ball wide with the goal begging in the 41st minute.
Vinicius, Benzema Connect
Madrid’s quality became more obvious in the second half, with Trapp saving a deflected Vinicius shot in the 54th minute and Casemiro hitting the crossbar with 61 minutes gone.
Borussia Dortmund loanee Ansgar Knauff had a chance saved just minutes later before Vinicius and Benzema combined to put Madrid 2-0 up.
Vinicius skated down the left before slicing the ball back seemingly unsighted for the Frenchman to hammer home from the edge of the box.
Frankfurt fought hard in the closing stages but Madrid were able to dominate the game to win their fifth Super Cup from eight attempts.
The clash, in Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium, was the first time these two sides had met in a European decider since 1960 when Madrid dismantled Frankfurt 7-3 through four goals to Ferenc Puskas and three to Alfredo di Stefano in the European Cup final.
The match also highlighted the growing gap between the Champions League and Europa League competitions, with Madrid being the ninth Champions League team to win the competition in the past 10 years.
Only city rivals Atletico Madrid have won the Super Cup when qualifying via a Europa League win in the past decade, having done so by beating Real in the 2018 edition.
In the 10 years before, Champions League and Europa League participants won five Super Cups each.
Frankfurt joined Hamburg (1977 and 1983), Dortmund (1997), and Bremen (1992) as losing Super Cup finalists from Germany, with only Bayern Munich (2013 and 2020) having won the showpiece event.
958 total views, 730 views today
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