The Progressive Yoruba Youth (PYY) has passed a vote of no confidence in the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution instituted by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to investigate police brutality and high handedness.
According to the group, the panel has so far come short of high expectations of Lagosians, reduced to something of a “circus show”, especially as it concerns the Lekki toll gate incident.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Lagos, National President, Kola Salawu said members of the panel have been compromised, hence abandoned their duty for photo sessions.
He lamented that the state risks another outbreak of violence if the panel fails to get to the root of matters about human rights abuses.
The Yoruba youths said Governor Sanwo-Olu should shoulder the blame for commissioning the panel to arrive at conclusions that will make him re-electable in 2023.
The PYY noted that due to pressure from the governor, the panel may not arrive at a fair, objective and just conclusions on what transpired at Lekki.
To ensure transparency, the group, however, demanded that the panel be disbanded and the body of tainted evidence it has collected so far must be discountenanced.
It called on the judiciary and the Lagos State House of Assembly to jointly constitute a new panel.
Read the full statement below:
We the Progressive Yoruba Youth find it expedient to urgently call the attention of Lagosians, Nigerians and the entire world to what is brewing in the state and the potential for this to cause intractable crises in the land. Our specific reference is to the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanw-Oolu to look into incidence of brutality and human rights abuses by operatives of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force after weeks of #EndSARS protests that later turned violent.
Those who desire to succeed or make progress in life must perpetually be students of history. This is exactly the situation we find ourselves in Lagos State where we must learn from the immediate history of not just the state but that of the entire country. The unfolding situation with the Judicial Panel of Inquiry is such that there could be a miscarriage of justice if care is not taken, which is why we are raising the alarm now for citizens to do the needful.
It is pertinent to ask ourselves why the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the Lagos State governor? Our recent history tells us that the panel is meant to investigate cases of police brutality and human rights abuses that led to #EndSARS Protests. Nigerians had taken to the streets to protest police brutality and abuse of human rights and demanded judicial panels to be set up. Because the Federal Government is not in a position to set up a judicial panel of inquiry it became the responsibility of the state. Consequently, the federal government encouraged states to set up judicial panels of inquiry.
The panel became all the more important following the Lekki Toll Gate incident, in which there were allegations that as many as 78 persons were killed when pandemonium broke out among protesters staking out at the Lekki Toll Plaza. Although, there was widespread condemnation of an alleged massacre of protesters by soldiers shown to be shooting into the sky in videos, by the following day there was no trace that such occurred. Protesters continued to insist that there was a massacre while security operatives that were present at the scene have a different account. No one has been able to show the corpses of the 78 persons allegedly killed.
With the Lagos State Governor setting up the panel, the people of the state had hope and expectations that things will move on smoothly and that the panel will be able to uncover the information necessary for the state and its citizens to get closure on what truly transpired at the Lekki Toll Gate and to also be able to hold indicted operatives of the defunct SARS to account.
What is, however, unfolding with the panel confounds us the same way it is confounding the citizens of Lagos state. We have seen the panel become more of a circus show, a member of the panel is running riot all over the public opinion space, making statements that are prejudicial to the eventual outcome of whatever work the panel does. As it stands today, the panel has fallen into the trap of a made-for-television reality show. The panel members are more interested in photo and camera ops that have only served to further inflame passion.
These theatrics of courting television prime time and exposure instead of doing the actual work it was set up has already damaged the reputation of the investigation. Such tendencies have sunken previous panels that would have exposed the misdeeds of police operatives and necessitate remedial actions, which would have prevented the meltdown the entire country was thrown into. Now we stand the risk of the substance being lost and then repeating the violent circle of protests against brutality.
Gentlemen of the press note that the inability of past panels of inquiry to get to the root of matters about human rights abuses brought us to the sorry state we find ourselves in today. The failure of previous panels of inquiry to conclusively address allegations of brutality and human rights abuses against the police was responsible for the lack of trust and confidence, which pushed Nigerians into staging protests that eventually led to the violence of the recent weeks. In a situation where the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry continues along the line of previous panels that failed, it means that we potentially risk another outbreak of violence. This time around the differences is that things will be more difficult to manage because the panel would have successfully further eroded public trust.
On the surface, the bungling by the panel may appear like something arising out of lack of experience, but we have made our findings to conclude that the panel is acting from a script, one written and clandestinely handed to it by Governor Sanwo-Olu when setting it up. The Panel, from the much we have seen, is set to arrive at conclusions that will make the Governor re-electable come 2023. This is a shame. We are talking about institutionalizing enduring change and a Judicial Panel that should maintain the impartiality of a law court has reduced itself to a tool for actualizing the next election.
We want to remind Nigerians that Governor Sanwo-Olu has already given his verdict on the Lekki Toll Plaza incident in several instances. The first time was when he visited the scene on the following day after the pandemonium and he ruled that no life was lost in the shooting. He has also ruled as a medical doctor that the one fatality that resulted afterwards was from blunt force trauma and not gunshot. He has said that forces beyond the Lagos State Government were responsible for the incident. It has on several occasions made comments that were prejudicial to the ongoing work of the panel.
Secondly, Governor Sanwo-Olu is a person of interest in the Panel’s investigation because he is also an accused person. Several people are pointing accusing fingers at him for contriving the situations that led to the pandemonium and the consequent injury and reported deaths from the incident. His business and political associates are reported to have interests that resulted in the deployment of violence during protests so he should not be the judge in his case.
We have therefore lost confidence in the ability of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry to arrive at a fair, objective and just conclusions since its members are automatically under pressure to align with the governor’s views and stance on what transpired at Lekki Toll Plaza.
We consequently demand that the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry, as constituted and inaugurated by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, should be immediately disbanded and the body of tainted evidence it has collected so far must be discountenanced. Its members should be barred from being part of any investigation that is connected to the Police brutality, #EndSARS protests or the Lekki Toll Gate incident.
We insist that a new panel should be constituted. Its membership should be jointly decided by the Judiciary and the Lagos State House of Assembly since the executive arm is an interested party. The panel to be constituted should be barred from leaking information to the media or talking to the press while its activities are opened to coverage and livestreaming to ensure transparency.
We thank you for listening.
BREAKING: Fire Breaks Out In Aso Rock
A fire outbreak has been reported at the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, Abuja, causing confusion among workers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s abode, SaharaReporters reports.
It was learnt that the fire started at 4 pm as the fire service officials tried desperately to put it out.
“The security men were chasing people not to capture the incident, but I tried my best to capture it. The fire is still on,” a source disclosed around 9 pm.
Although the cause of the fire is not yet known, fire service trucks have moved in and were seen in the villa.
More details soon….
We Won’t Allow Hijab In Kwara Mission Schools, CAN Insists
The Christian Association of Nigeria in Kwara State has insisted that it will not allow its pupils to wear hijab, despite the Kwara State Government’s directive that Muslim female pupils in Christian mission schools should wear hijab.
The state government, last week, said it had approved wearing of hijab by Muslim female pupils in Christian mission grant-aided schools in the state.
It also said the 10 Christian mission schools closed down in the wake of the hijab crisis would be reopened on Monday, March 8.
However, the state branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria said it would not agree to the use of hijab in schools established by Christian missions, alleging that they were surprised that the government was trying to make a decision on a matter that was still before the Supreme Court.
CAN said, “The body condemns the use of hijab in Christian missions grant-aided schools as this will cause discrimination in schools and allow terrorists to easily identify our children and wards.”
Two missions, Evangelical Church Winning All and the Kwara Baptist Conference, said they would not allow the wearing of hijab in their respective schools when the schools reopen on Monday.
The leadership of ECWA said it would not welcome the directive in all its schools in the state.
The Chairman, ECWA Ilorin District Church Council, Rev John Owoeye, who spoke at a press conference in Ilorin on Friday, said ECWA schools were established by Christian missionaries for purposes of reaching communities with the love of Christ and to meet educational needs of the indigenes irrespective of religious affiliations, among other reasons.
The ECWA church leaders, who demanded return of ECWA schools to them, said since 1974 when there was agreement on collaboration between the state government and the proprietor for the school to be grant-aided schools, “the policy has never been total takeover of our schools by the government.”
Owoeye, who said Christians are bona fide citizens of the state, added, “We have equal rights under the provisional constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He argued that the government was aware that Christian Religious Knowledge teachers were not posted to Muslim grant-aided schools and that the gathering of Fellowship of Christian Students was not allowed in Muslim grant-aided schools.
“Similarly, we want the government to be informed that her decision and plan to provide hijab and enforce its use in our Christian mission grant-aided schools will not be tolerated as it is an infringement on our freedom of religion as enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria,” he said.
Also, the President of Kwara Baptist Conference, Rev Victor Dada, in a separate press conference, said the mission would not allow the use of hijab in its 38 schools across the state, adding that the government was wrongly advised in taking the decision.
Dada argued that the state government took a wrong decision by its blanket approval of wearing of hijab for female pupils in mission schools.
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“The state government was wrongly advised to take that decision. The state even acted in contempt of court as the case is still pending before the Supreme Court.
“We want to warn the government that the step it wants to take by approving the use of hijab for all public schools and grant-aided schools in the state will lead to an avalanche of reactions, the end of which no one can predict.
“With this move, the state government is saying the Muslims’ purported rights are superior to those of the Christians.
“What we are saying is that no one, whether the Kwara State Government or even the Federal Government, can force hijab on our children or in our schools. We shall not hesitate to use all legitimate means to protect our heritage. We will defend our faith and protect our property.”
Meanwhile, Muslim stakeholders in the state have urged the state government to stand by the rule of law in taking a final decision on the hijab issue.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Alhaji Is-haq AbdulKarim; and Secretary, Professor Ibrahim Abikan, the Muslim Stakeholders said the state branch of CAN, which engaged the state government in a legal battle over the issue of ownership of the grant-aided schools since 2013 lost its two cases in Ilorin High Court in 2016 and the Court of Appeal in 2019.
In a related development, Chairman, Kwara State branch of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Olu Adewara, said the union was not part of the hijab crisis currently going on in the state.
The NUT Chairman, Adewara, told reporters, “The hijab matter is basically an issue between the government, the Muslim parents and the owners of these schools, regardless that such schools are grant-aided by the government. The NUT is not involved because this is not a matter bordering on teachers’ rights.”
My Ex-Wife Lied Against Me, She Is An Adulterer —Fani-Kayode
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has said his ex-wife, Precious Chikwendu, lied against him, adding that he didn’t beat her at any point in time during their relationship.
Fani-Kayode also alleged that Chikwendu was an adulterer who tried to seduce his friends while he was in detention.
The former beauty pageant had accused her ex-husband of beating her up at several times including when she was pregnant.
The ex-wife further accused Fani-Kayode of confining her to a hospital when she attempted to escape.
Chikwendu subsequently demanded for full custody of their four sons.
The former beauty queen made the allegations in an affidavit she deposed to in support of an originating motion brought pursuant to Section 69 of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003.
But in a statement by his Media Consultant, Oladimeji Olaiya, the ex-minister described all the allegations as “lies and falsehood”.
The statement was titled, ‘Press statement on the vile and baseless allegations of Precious Chikwendu against Chief Femi Fani-Kayode’.
It partly read, “The statement of claim and affidavit that was filed in court by one Precious Chikwendu against Chief Femi Fani-Kayode is filled with lies and falsehood.
“Not one thing that she has alleged there is true. She is a pathological liar and a slanderer and we intend to prove this in court.
“We believe that the children’s lives would be in danger if they are with her and we shall prove this in court.
“Neither is it true that she was ever beaten by Chief Fani-Kayode or anyone else in his staff and security team, either when she was pregnant or not pregnant and it is not true that she was subjected to any form of physical or mental abuse from them.”
The statement also noted that Chikwendu walked out of the marriage despite pleas and entreaties.
“She walked out on her own saying she was hearing voices even when the entire household was begging her to stay and she abandoned her husband and four young children to meet other men outside.
“After she finished having her fun Chief Fani-Kayode refused to let her back into his and resolved to keep her out of his life. This is the best decision he has made in the last 7 years.”
Fani-Kayode also accused his ex-wife of adultery, saying, “Chikwendu’s only pastime was to post pictures and words on Instagram and sleep with men outside.
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“She also tried to seduce a number of Chief Fani-Kayode’s friends when he was in detention and extort money from them.”
Though Chikwendu demanded the full custody of her four sons, Fani-Kayode said the children’s lives would be endangered if left in her care.
“On one occasion she beat her first son so badly that his face swelled up like a football and he had to be rushed to the hospital where she admitted to her offence to the doctor. We have pictures of his damaged and badly swollen face.
“His crime was that he had called one of his 3 nannies “mummy” and this angered Chikwendu who then flew into an uncontrollable rage and punched him in the face in front of 7 nannies.
“On a separate occassion in front of three Pastors she also beat one of the triplets mercilessly simply because he had dared to cry during prayers. Again we have evidence of this and the Pastors and nannies will testify,” the statement added.
“We urge members of the public to wait until the truth is revealed about Chikwendu, her mental and physical abuse of her own children, her mental illness, her numerous attempts to murder Chief Fani-Kayode and his four children, her adulterous ways, her unfathomable cruelty, her gold-digging ways, her violence and so much more before they make up their minds,” it concluded.
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