Human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), has slammed the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, for describing as pretend information the report of the panel constituted by the Lagos State Government to research the Lekki bloodbath of protesters final 12 months October.
He slammed the minister for overruling President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledge to the United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, that his authorities would work on suggestions of the studies of the federating states.
Falana stated these in a press release titled, ‘Federal Government Is Not Competent To Reject The Report Of Okuwobi Judicial Commission Of Inquiry.’
A duplicate of the assertion was obtained by SaharaReporters on Wednesday.
It partly reads, “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 explicit, the President stated, ‘We on the federal have to attend for the steps taken by the states, and we have now to permit the system to work. We can’t impose concepts on them. The federal authorities has to attend for the response 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 ready ‘for the response of the states’, the minister has overruled the president of the republic. As if that was not sufficient, the minister determined to insult the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu, by rejecting the report of the judicial fee instituted by him below 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.”
The human rights lawyer described the minister as smug, regardless of being a lawyer himself to have referred to as a report of judicial panel “fake news”.
Falana added, “Mr. Mohammed has described the 309-page report of a judicial tribunal as “pretend information”. 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 “pretend”.
“It is regrettable to notice that the minister has failed to understand that the Lagos State Government will not be an extension of the Federal Government however a sovereign entity within the structure of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Since the identify of the Federal Government will not be clothed with any energy below the Tribunal of Enquiry Law, the purported rejection of the report by the Minister must be handled 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’s pertinent to level out that Mr. Mohammed’s touch upon the report lacks originality as it’s a mere regurgitation of the jaundiced views of a few aggrieved people.
“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 people are entitled to specific their opinions on the report of the fee. But the decision for the rejection of the report is prohibited in each materials.
“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 although Mr. Mohammed stated that the report of the genocidal assault was a hoax, the Justice Garba Judicial Commission of Enquiry instituted by the Kaduna State Government confirmed a casualty determine of 348 Shiites. Six years thereafter, the authorities have ignored the advice 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 “pretend information”.
“Finally, Mr. Mohammed’s callous touch upon the chilly homicide of unarmed residents on the Lekki Toll Gate is a tragic reminder of his personal expertise below the identical forces of brutalization.
“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 used to be aroused from my sleep by Governor Aregbesola who requested me to help in trying to find Mr. Mohammed. However, a few hours later, I used to be 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. Mohamned’s steps undermine the rule of legislation and social justice within the land. President Buhari ought to warning him.”