Lawyer and activist, Femi Falana on Wednesday issued a scathing critique of the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed over his comments on the #EndSARS report published by the Lagos State Judicial Panel.
Ripples Nigeria had reported that the Minister had picked holes in the report, claiming it was riddled with discrepancies.
However, Falana, in his statement titled, “FG Is Not Competent To Reject The Report Of Okuwobi Judicial Commission Of Inquiry” responded to Lai’s comments over its lack of originality, accusing the minister of “executive rascality”.
The statement also accused Lai of arrogance due to his dismissal of a panel approved and constituted by the Federal and State Governments in the wake of the protests in 2020.
“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.,” Falana railed.
He also accused Lai of repeating “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.
“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”.”
The statement also reminded Lai to recall his experience at the hands of agents of the state, instead of resorting to callousness.
“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.”
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