The President of the Nigerian Bar association, Olumide Akpata, has said that Nigerian Governors are well within their rights or the power of the law to set up panels of inquiry to determine if SARS went beyond their boundaries to violate the rights of citizens.
Mr. Akpata disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV on Sunday evening.
What you should know
The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, first announced during the #EndSARS protests that the 36 State Governors and the FCT Minister will set up judicial panels of inquiry that will adopt public hearings.
Lagos State Government inaugurated an 8-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution to investigate cases of police brutality in the state, as the protests continued. The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, announced that the Judicial panel set up by the state would include the incident at Lekki toll gate.
President Muhammadu Buhari also stated that the Lagos State Judicial Panel had his full support, and expressed confidence in the outcomes of other panels set up by states.
In Sunday’s interview, the NBA President said it’s lawful for governors to set up panels to determine the scale of violations committed by SARS.
“I think the Governors are well within their rights or the power of the law to set up those panels of inquiry for the purpose of determining whether or not the now-disbanded SARS went beyond their remit.
“Whether or not the claims that we have from various Nigerians as to how they were mistreated or illegally treated by SARS are correct,” he said.
He added that the NBA has not received complaints on the legality of the Panels and has been invited to sit on some panels.
“We are of the view that those panels are well-constituted, and in some states, members of the Nigerians Bar Association have been invited to be on those panels,” he said.
On the powers that the governors have within the panels, Mr. Akpata said that the States have the right to determine if the violations happened and recommend the right steps to take to the Federal authorities.
“In my understanding of these panels, the way they have been constituted is to say ‘Yes, this happened’ or ‘No, that did not happen’ and recommend to the authorities what they think should be done with regard to those persons who are found to have broken the law or breached any provision of the law.
“I don’t think anybody has suggested for a second that these particular panels have the power to punish an individual or to jail anybody. That is not my understanding of these panels or what their remit covers,” he said.
Recall Nairametrics reported that the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) condemned the killings of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on Tuesday, 20th of October, adding that even if protesters were breaching curfew, such actions did not warrant the use of live ammunition by the Nigerian military.
Akpata, also disclosed in October that the right to protest is a fundamental right recognized by the Nigerian Constitution and upheld by Nigerian courts at all levels, and called for the protection of the rights of citizens participating in the peaceful protests across the country.
#EndSARS: Protest hijack was catalysed by fake news – Lai Mohammed
The hijack of #EndSARS protests was catalysed by fake news and disinformation, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed has said.
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, has claimed that the hijack of the #EndSARS protests was catalysed by fake news and disinformation, which spread like wildfire on social media.
The Minister disclosed this during a stakeholders meeting with members of the broadcasting organizations of Nigeria (BON) on Friday in Abuja.
#EndSARS Sanctions: Nigeria has reached out to the UK Government – Foreign Minister
Onyeama has stated that the FG has reached out to the UK Government over the parliamentary debate on the #EndSARS protests.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said that the Nigerian Government has reached out to the UK Government over the parliamentary debate on the #EndSARS protests.
The Minister disclosed this to Newsmen at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Thursday, which was recorded by Channels TV.
He added that the UK Parliament did not speak for the UK government, and that the UK had heard the Nigerian government’s side regarding the incident at Lekki.
“On the issue of the UK parliament, yes, we have reached out to the UK government on this question. The meeting that took place was of Parliamentarians, they don’t speak for the UK government and the UK government which acts for the United Kingdom has also heard the side of the (Nigerian) government regarding everything that happened.
“So we are in touch with them and engaging with them. But, of course, as in any democracy, the Members of Parliament are able to also air their views, but what is important is that a balanced picture is made available to them all before they take any decision,” Onyeama said.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported earlier this week that the British Parliament had announced it would consider a petition by some groups and individuals, asking it to apply sanctions against the Nigerian government and officials for alleged human rights violations during the #EndSARS protest and Lekki shooting incident.
Also, the presidency earlier disclosed that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had a meeting with the UK Special Envoy for Humanitarian Affairs, Nick Dyer, accompanied by the UK High Commissioner to Nigeria.
#EndSARS: States affected by violence should get 1% VAT – Senate
The Nigerian Senate has urged the Federal Government to give states that were affected by lootings and destruction by hoodlums after the anti-police brutality protests, 1% of all Value Added Tax (VAT).
This motion was moved by Senators Abiodun Olujimi and Gershom Bassey on Tuesday and disclosed in a report by Channels TV.
What you should know
After the lootings and destruction by hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protests, Nairametrics reported that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said Lagos State will need about N1 trillion for the reconstruction and repair of the properties and infrastructure that was vandalized in the process.
The Senators moving the motion declared that destruction caused in Lagos by hoodlums was valued at a range of over N1 trillion by the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Senator Gershom Bassey also revealed that hoodlums attacked federal properties in Calabar like the WAEC office and looted food warehouses in the state.
“Cross River State being a predominantly Civil Service State may not overcome the effects of the invasion since the destroyed state infrastructure were built from lean state resources over the years,” Bassey disclosed.
Senator Sani Musa said the lootings which started in Lagos spread to other states, leading to the destruction of properties and urged for the FG’s assistance.
“#EndSARS came as a peaceful protest, but turned violent. It started in Lagos and later spread to other states which led to the destruction of homes, businesses, and government offices. It is very unfortunate. The government needs to rebuild what was destroyed and pay compensation as well. It is their responsibility,” Musa said.