I'm before the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry with Olumide Fusika SAN (lead counsel) to represent some victims of the Lekki Toll Gate Incident.
We have objected to the appearance of the Army on the ground that the Rules of the Panel does not cover the Lekki Toll Gate Incident.
We have also raised the issue of the absence of an Instrument setting up the tribunal. How can we go ahead when we have not seen the Instrument setting up the panel? How can we go on when the Rules of the Panel does not cover the Lekki Toll Gate Incident? This is fundamental.
The Army is saying that no one except the panel can cross examine their witnesses because there is no petition as at today against them over their role in the Lekki Toll Gate Incident. This is why it is important to resolve the issues that we have raised.
GOVERNOR SANWO-OLU REPLIES LAWYER, SAYS HE WILL NOT RELEASE INSTRUMENT SETTING UP PANEL
I've received a response to the Freedom of Information request that I sent to governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the Certified True Copy of the Instrument setting up the Lagos Panel of Inquiry.
You will recall that on 26th October, 2020, I invoked the Freedom of Information Act 2011 and requested for the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the Instrument (official document) setting up the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on SARS Abuses and Lekki Toll Gate Incident.
I also requested for the CTC of the Instrument, Executive Order or Directive under which curfew was imposed on the State from the hours of 9pm on 20th October.
In my FOI application, I equally requested for CCTV records showing the attack on protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate.
Section 3 (1) and (2) of the Tribunals of Inquiry Law of Lagos State is clear on the contents of the Oath of Members.
It provides thus:
3(1) "Every member of a Tribunal appointed under this Law shall, before entering upon his duties, make,
and subscribe to, an oath that he will faithfully, and impartially and to the best of his ability discharge the duties devolving upon him under the inquiry, and if the inquiry is not to be held in public, that he will not divulge the proceedings or the vote or opinion of the
members or any matter relevant to the inquiry."
3(2) "Such oath may be taken under the Oaths Law. In this Law "oath" includes affirmation and declaration."
From the foregoing provisions, the document purportedly containing an "Oath of Secrecy" which was to be sworn by members
GOVERNMENT AIDING THUGS TO CAUSE VIOLENCE, DISCREDIT ENDSARS PROTESTS
The escalation of coordinated attacks on peaceful #EndSARS in Abuja, Edo, Lagos and other parts of the country by armed thugs and other criminal elements gives credence to the desperation of the federal
and state governments to use every conceivable primitive, unlawful and extra-judicial means to discredit and scuttle the genuine agitations of aggrieved protesters.
Predictably, recent attacks on police stations in Edo and Lagos States have been cited by governors of these States as a basis for imposing questionable curfews. One can reasonably infer, that these attacks are ostensibly sponsored by persons who are sympathetic to the government
I want to use this medium to thank everyone that responded to our call to help Associate Professor Inih Ebong financially. The response has been impressive and commendable. Special thanks to @CletusUkpong, @Musikilu and @PremiumTimesng for continuously rising to the occasion.
Without them, some of us would not have heard about the plight of Dr Ebong.
I am not going to be specific at this point on the amount raised. Please, you can also send your contribution.
According to his medical report, “Recent 2D Echo showed that all cardiac chambers were dilated with very poor left ventricular systolic function with ejection fraction of 35 % in a setting of severe mitral regurgitation.
The Sowore that I have known closely for about a decade, is the last person in this country that can be compromised. For anyone to now paint a man who has spent the last 30 years of his life fighting for a better Nigeria as the enemy of the people is offensive. It's unacceptable.
You can always disagree with his strategy respectfully. We are all victims of elite manipulation. The Buhari regime wants you to see him as your enemy. They have told you that because he contested election, he has no right to demand for a better country. Does that make sense?
If only you can hold politicians who have ruined this country to the same standard you are holding Sowore. You keep saying that he should not talk about Revolution Now. Isn't that a matter of semantics? What is going on now is a revolution. Read more about what a revolution is.
A group of lawyers in Lagos State have resolved to go ahead with their planned protest on Tuesday. Despite the "dissolution" of SARS by the Inspector General of Police, journalists and peaceful protesters were violently attacked in Abuja on Sunday.
Mr. Sapara Williams, the first indigenous Nigerian Lawyer rightly posited that "a lawyer lives for a direction of his people and the advancement of the cause of his country". It will be a capitulation from that cause if lawyers do not take a stand against attacks on citizens.
Lawyers are among the most tormented victims of police corruption, brutality, impunity and reckless disregard for the rule of law. The late sage, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, will be turning in his grave if the voice of Nigerian lawyers is not hear at this historic time in our country.
I do not think the protesters in Ogun State will be charged for murder as reported by some of our comrades. Murder is a capital offence. By practice, it the Ministry of Justice, not the police, that prosecutes murder cases. Before this can be done, a Legal Advice must be written.
The Advice must recommend prosecution. During my youth service, Ministry of Justice was my PPA. I used to write Legal Advice. I don't think this can be done & approved before Monday given the bureaucracy involved. The DPP must approve it. In sensitive cases, the AG must approve.
I also know that under the Administrative of Criminal Justice Law of Ogun State 2018, the police cannot undertake such cases at the High Court without the AG.
My preliminary assessment is that the police will either charge them with lesser offences, or seek detention order(s).
The CP cannot defy you, except on the directive of the IGP.
If the IGP gives a contrary directive, instruct your Attorney General to invoke his wide powers under Section 211 (1) (c) of the Constitution and discontinue ALL criminal charges filed against protesters in Oyo State.
The @PoliceNG should not be allowed to investigate itself over the killing of Jimoh.
Therefore, I urge you to invoke your powers under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act by constituting a Judiciary Commission of Inquiry to investigate the attack on protesters and the death of Jimoh.
Constitute independent investigative panels across the 36 States to probe unresolved cases of extra-judicial killings by SARS/police.
Immediately arrest and prosecute all SARS operatives and police officers implicated in the probe.
Set-up a significant compensation fund for victims of police/SARS impunity.
Inspect every SARS/police detention facility in the country and release all those arrested and detained illegally, and arraigned those with established criminal cases before courts of competent jurisdiction.
The young man standing with me in this photo is Promise Etete. He was arrested by the Nigeria Police Force in Uyo on Tuesday on the instigation of a member of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and Chairman of the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Mr. Uduak Odudoh.
He arrested him for constantly criticising him and for always calling for good governance, better representation and development in his community and Constituency. You can confirm this by checking the Facebook posts of the young man.
Promise was detained and arraigned in court on Thursday on charges of "threat to life" and "defamation". He only regained freedom today after perfecting his bail conditions.
Promise has briefed me and Inibehe Effiong Chambers to represent him forthwith in the case.
FUND RAISING FOR INIH EBONG; DYING ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR SACKED OVER ACTIVISM
As we mark World Teachers' Day, I'm appealing to Nigerians to donate to the medical bills of Dr. Inih Ebong, an associate professor sacked in 2002 by University of Uyo due to his activism before he dies.
Today, I visited Inih Ebong, an associate professor of theatre art at his residence in Uyo. I was almost moved to tears over the hardship and injustice that this patriotic intellectual has gone through for the past 18 years. He is terribly sick and can barely speak. It is tragic.
In 2002, the then dictatorial Vice Chancellor of University of Uyo, Prof. Akpan Morgan Ekpo, sacked Dr. Inih Ebong because he could no longer tolerate his persistent criticisms and activism. Dr. Inih Ebong was a thorn in the flesh of the university management. He was fearless.
What is the worth of the words of the IGP? These screenshots show that this is not the first time @PoliceNG authorities will announce that SARS has no business engaging in stop and search or routine movements on the road. Osinbajo as Acting President made similar declarations.
Today's announcement by the IGP is nothing but a smoke screen. I don't believe in the very least, that the government is ready to reform the police. A President who has been deaf to agitations to sack his Service Chiefs will not easily respond to the #EndSARS campaign.
Buhari is a dictator and will not address the escalating impunity in the police except Nigerians take to the streets across the country in their thousands to demand action. This is going to be a long walk to freedom. Anything short of a total disbandment of SARS is cosmetic.
Only the President of Nigeria can end the SARS monstrosity. There's little that can be done without decisive actions by the President. The reason is simple: impunity by SARS has assumed a life of its own. The Inspector General will not act because he's part of the rotten system.
Osinbajo as Acting President announced some cosmetic changes on the modus operandi of SARS. Nothing came out of it because there's no political will on the part of Buhari. No responsible leader will sit back and watch his citizens being slaughtered by those paid to protect them.
SARS is a criminal organization. Most of them have a sick sense of invincibility. They have become accustomed to criminality, murder, extortion and oppression. The callousness of the Buhari regime has emboldened SARS to kill, rob and destroy. Buhari has no respect for human life.
It has been brought to my attention that Mr. @HarrisonBbi18, an activist who has been fighting police extortion and impunity in Delta State, is being held illegally at FCID Alagbon in Lagos over a petition by a SARS operative in Delta State. He has been in custody since Tuesday.
The police command in Delta has been looking for an opportunity to deal with Harrison for constantly exposing rogue officers. He had earlier petitioned the same SARS operative who is now the complainant. @PoliceNG detaining Harrison on phony allegations of defamation and cultism.
@PoliceNG at Alagbon refused to charge him to court but imposed impossible bail conditions (three sureties) on him: 1. A level 14 civil servant; 2. A surety with landed property in specific parts of Lagos; 3. A surety with international passport who has visited the US and Europe.
No one should be afraid of arrest during peaceful protests. I've been involved in many of such cases in the past. The police has never defeated us in court. Their usual bogus charges are meaningless to me. The courts have always resisted attempts to criminalize peaceful protests.
Section 39 and 40 of the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. By virtue of Section 94(4) of the Electoral Act (as amended in 2015), the role of the police during political rallies and procession is limited to provision of security.
The court has ruled that the #RevolutionNow protest is legal and lawful. Even where the police concocts non-existent intelligence report that "hoodlums will hijack the protest", they are not empowered to stop the protest. They are only to be there to protect the protesters.
There is no law that empowers the @PoliceNG to search the phones of citizens without warrant. Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution guarantees privacy of citizens - including telephone conversations and telegraphic communications. Such law, if ever passed, will be unconstitutional.
However, where a cybercrime has been committed or there are reasonable grounds to believe that a cybercrime has been committed; evidence of which may be traceable to a computer device (phones, etc), Section 45 of the Cybercrimes Act requires the police to obtain a court order.
There has been so much misinformation in recent times on the new Police Act 2020. As much as that piece of legislation is far from perfect and does not meet current international best practices, we should be careful not to distort the real issues besetting us. Let's be guided.
Another lawyer and activist, Inibehe Effiong, also argued that the police lacked the power to stop the labour from protesting as no court could have issued any order to stop any Nigerian from protesting.
Effiong said, “I do not think any court in Nigeria can give an injunction against people from protesting. That will be an affront to the constitution. If by Monday the police or the State Security Services say they are acting in furtherance to the order of the court to stop
members of the labour movement from coming out to get their members to protest the hike in pump price and electricity tariff, it will be a flagrant attack on the constitution.