Connect with us



Falana Writes Lagos Government, Says Unclaimed Corpses Marked ‘Unknown’ In Mortuaries




Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has written a letter to the Attorney General of Lagos State, Moyo Onigbanjo (SAN), drawing the attention of the state government to the existence of some unclaimed corpses in government mortuaries following the shooting of protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll plaza on October 20, 2020.

The letter, which was obtained by PUNCH Newspaper on Saturday is titled, ‘Request for Coroner’s Inquest Into the Brutal Killing of Unarmed Protesters at Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday, October 20, 2020’.

It read in part, “ASCAB requests the Lagos State Government to check the mortuaries in the Lagos State hospitals and at Lagos University Teaching Hospital with a view to confirming the actual number of protesters that were killed by the soldiers at the venue of the protest or those who lost their lives as a result of fatal injuries.

“The investigation ought to be carried out as some of the dead bodies dumped in the mortuaries have been marked ‘unknown’.”

The ASCAB interim chairman also demanded a coroner’s inquest into the incident since the state government had confirmed that at least two people died in the incident.

Falana said the group had confirmed that soldiers from a particular military barracks on Victoria Island, Lagos invaded the venue of the peaceful protest at the Lekki toll gate on Tuesday and fired live rounds at the protesters under the cover of darkness.

The ASCAB interim chairman recalled that before perpetrating the dastardly act the soldiers caused the light to be switched off while the CCTV cameras at the toll gate were reportedly cut out.

The statement further read, “From the information at our disposal, two of the protesters have since lost their lives while some survivors are still receiving treatment in two hospitals in Lagos State. Others who have been discharged from the hospitals are recuperating in their homes.

“In view of the denial of the Nigerian Army in the brutal attack of the unarmed protesters, ASCAB is compelled to request the Lagos State Government to conduct an inquest into the cause and circumstances of the unnatural death of the deceased pursuant to the provisions of the Lagos State Coroner’s Inquest Law.”




Police Ask Court To Stop Ongoing Probe Of Abuses By Judicial Panels




The Nigeria Police has initiated a move to stop various panels probing allegations of rights abuses and other acts of impunity against police officials, particularly operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

State governments have raised the panels to investigate alleged infractions by SARS operatives, following nationwide #EndSARS protests by youths.

The panels have since been sitting in almost all the states.

But, the Police have approached a Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking among others, an order restraining the Attorneys-General of the 36 states and the panels of inquiry they constituted, from proceedings with their investigation of the activities of the police and their officials.

The suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1492/2020, filed for the NPF by its lawyer, O. M. Atoyebi (SAN) has 104 defendants.

The defendants include the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the attorneys-general of the states, and chairmen of the panels set up by the states.

It is the plaintiff’s main contention that the decision by governors to set up panels of inquiry to investigate activities of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and their officials in the conduct of their statutory duties violate Section 241(1)(2)(a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule to the Constitution and Section 21 of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act.

The NPF is of the view that by the provisions of 241(1)(2)(a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule to the Constitution the Federal Government of Nigeria has exclusive power to “organize, control and administer the Nigeria Police Force.”

The plaintiff raised three questions for the court’s determination. It is also seeking four main reliefs.

One of the prayers is a declaration that having regard to the provisions of Section a14 (1)(2) (a) and Item 45, Part 1, First Schedule, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the Federal Government of Nigeria has the exclusive power to organize, control and administer the Nigeria Police Force.

Other reliefs being sought by the plaintiff are:

* A declaration that the establishment of a panel of inquiries by the Governors of the various states of the Federation of Nigeria, to inquire into the activities of the Nigeria Police Force in relation to the discharge of her statutory duties is a gross violation of the provisions of Section 241 (1)(2) (a) and Item 45, Part 1, First schedule, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Section 21 of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, Cap.T21, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

* A declaration that having regard to the circumstances of this case, the attitude of the governors of the various states of the Federation of Nigeria, in this case, is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void, and of no effect whatsoever.

* An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 3rd to 38th defendants (the attorneys-general of the 36 states) from making or conducting any investigations, sittings, and inquiries and/or from making or conducting any further investigations, sittings, and inquiries in respect of matters affecting the Nigeria Police Force, and or further setting up any panel of inquiry in any state whatsoever in the country.

The case listed on the cause list for Wednesday, could not be heard because the court did not sit. It was rescheduled for December 18.

Also on Wednesday, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, faulted a claim that the apex bank obtained court orders to block accounts linked to promoters of the #EndSARS protests.

Emefiele’s position was stated by his lawyer Mike Aondoakaa (SAN) while appearing before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Aondoakaa, a former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, is Emefiele’s lawyer in the case, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020)of CBN v.Bolatito Rachael Oduala and 19 others in which Justice Ahmed Mohammed granted an order freezing the accounts of the defendants for 90 minutes in the first instance.

The former AGF spoke while reacting to remarks by Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), lawyer to Albert A. Ugochuwu, and others, whose accounts were also frozen in similar circumstance by another judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo in the case marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/12000/2020.

Aondoakaa, who insisted that his client acted within the provision of Section 60 (b) of the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA), that allows the CBN to apply for a freezing order pending the conclusion of the investigation.

The ex-AGF faulted Adegboruwa’s claim that the CBN was going about filing multiple cases to freeze people’s accounts, including those linked to the #EndSARS protests.

He said the CBN did not apply for the freezing of any accounts because the owners were associated with the #EndSARS protests.

Aondoakaa stated that his client only applied to have the accounts frozen following suspicious and questionable transactions in them.

He noted that none of those affected by the orders have claimed, in the processes they filed, that they are #EndSARS protesters.

Arguing earlier, Adegboruwa accused the CBN of filing multiple cases to freeze accounts of people indiscriminately. He cited the case of those associated with the #EndSARS protests.

He argued that the CBN had a misconception of Section 60(b) of the BOFIA and that it lacks the power to conduct an investigation into alleged infraction of the law.

Adegboruwa noted that the CBN came before the court on September 21, 2020, and obtained the freezing order pending the conclusion of its investigation.

“The law permitting the CBN to approach the court makes it a clearinghouse. Not to investigate. The CBN is arrogating the powers of the investigating agencies. The CBN lacks the power to investigate crimes,” he said.

Adegboruwa prayed the court to vacate the order earlier made by the court and dismiss the CBN’s suit.

Justice Taiwo adjourned the matter till December 16 for the ruling.

Continue Reading


Nowhere Is Safe In Nigeria Now, Sultan Of Sokoto Laments




Nigerians are now at the mercy of criminals with nowhere safe, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, said on Wednesday.

He described Saturday’s killing of no fewer than 43 rice farmers in Borno as “a senseless act”. The senate put the death toll at 67.

According to him, bandits now control many northern communities and set rules that must be obeyed.

The Sultan urged the Federal Government to stop paying lip service to security matters.

He spoke under the auspices of the apex Islamic body in Northern Nigeria, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI),

He asked Imams across the country to embark on special prayer against insecurity five times a day.

A statement by the JNI’s Secretary-General, Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, quoted the Sultan as saying: “Wanton killings, acts of banditry, kidnapping for ransom, high rate of unemployment among the youths, rape and all forms of terrorisms have now become the ‘new trend’ in our communities.

“Nigerians have become so much terrified, as nowhere is safe; the home, the farms and the roads. Bandits now rule in many communities, they set rules that must be obeyed.

“Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) under the leadership of Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and the President-General, identifies with the government and people of Borno State over the gruesome massacre of innocent rice farmers in Zabarmari, Jere Local Government, which was the height of bloodletting ever committed in recent history.

“Forty-three human beings as reported by the media were slaughtered without any intervention by the security forces in the area. The senseless act stands condemned in the strongest of terms.”

Alhaji Abubakar said it was unfortunate that the common man is now caught in-between two contending phenomenon: when he goes to the farm, he gets killed and when he stays at home he dies of hunger.

“It should be known that this singular act of Zabarmari was a calculated attempt to instil fear among farmers and jeopardise the frantic efforts of returning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their localities by the Borno State government under the leadership of Governor Babagana Umar Zulum.

“For how long would we continue to live a life in fear? For how long can we continue to wait in vain? For how long shall we continue to condemn acts of terrorism without any concerted efforts in ending it?

“For how long would we continue to remain indolent? And for how long can we continue to remain hopeless in a precarious situation such as what we are in presently?

“Our heartrending condolences to the families of those martyred in the Zabarmari massacre, the people and government of Borno State and Nigeria in general.

“Moreover, all that was needed immediately the incidence occurred was a proactive measure by the Federal Government, such as a prompt visit within 24 hours to the affected areas.

“This will assuage the affected communities to have more confidence in their leaders, seeing that they are not left alone in their ordeal and it will also send a strong signal to insurgents that the government is ready to go to any length to protect its people.”

Sultan Abubakar praised the “tireless efforts” of Governor Zulum, praying Allah “to continue to guide and protect him, being a true servant-leader”.

The first-class monarch made some recommendations on how to tackle the problem.

The statement added: “We once again call on the Federal Government to rise to its responsibilities and do well beyond the traditional condemnation, as lip service on security matters should stop. Nigerians are desperately yearning for concrete actions.

“Thus, we call on the government to: always identify with victims and places of attacks by being physically on the ground to commiserate with the people. A national broadcast after the visit is very necessary.

“Reprimand/prosecute officials that are found wanting in the discharge of their assignment(s), to serve as a deterrent to other nonchalant officials.

“Collaboration with relevant security agencies with a timeline to bringing an end or at best decapitate all security threats bedevilling the country and also mop small arms and light weapons (SALWs) in the hands of criminals or else Nigeria will continue to witness the rise arms proliferation for self-defence amongst Nigerians since the government failed to do so.

“Spare no genuine effort to immediately provide support to all the affected communities, as many are now displaced, becoming internally displaced persons (IDPs) in their land, which further speaks volumes, considering the attendant social nuances often associated with IDP camps.

“On the other hand, we note with dismay that our societal values have been relegated to alien norms, thus parents and community leaders must be very vigilant and always remain introspecting over their wards and/or children, as the prevalence of illicit drugs intake amongst the youths is getting out of hand.

“Child upbringing is a responsibility vested in each parent by Allah, failure of which spells doom to our collective responsibility. Qur’an 13:11 provides better insights.

“These and many more similar gestures may not immediately bring the insurgency to an abrupt end but will reassure the masses and calm frayed nerves seeing that the authorities are truly on top of the situation.

“This will bring hope and soothe the hearts, not the exact opposite, being witnessed in recent years, which is providing fertile ground for citizens to harbour ill feelings against the government of the day.”

Continue Reading


2023 Presidency: Kogi Lawmakers Endorse Yahaya Bello




The Kogi House of Assembly has asked Yahaya Bello, the governor, to run as either president or vice-president in 2023.

The resolution of the assembly followed a motion sponsored by Hassan Abdullahi, majority leader, on Wednesday.

While moving his motion, Abdullahi said Bello has performed well since he assumed office in 2016 and has initiated “sound economic policies and programmes.”

“The right honourable speaker and honourable members of the Kogi state house of assembly upon due deliberation of proper motion, therefore, do hereby unanimously make and pass a vote of confidence on his excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State,” the lawmaker said.

“Under his watch, Kogi state has been transformed from the kidnap capital of Nigeria outside the embattled north-east, into a polity where the abduction of humans for ransom, along with other violent crimes like armed robbery and the formerly ubiquitous herdsmen scourge, have become mere opportunistic aberrations.

“That this at various times, culminated in Kogi state ranking as the second most peaceful state in the federation and the most peaceful in the North.

“Yahaya Bello by his creative governance style has somehow engineered a reversal of several negative national development indicators in Kogi state. Examples abound everywhere.

“That this Kogi state house of assembly further makes a call to national service to His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state and we hereby impress it upon him to run for the office of the president or vice-president of Nigeria in 2023 – after his current assignment in Kogi state.

“That this solemn call is first and foremost premised upon and borne of our belief that the subject, Yahaya Bello, is a fit and proper person, with the right mix of youth, experience and track record to answer – same firmly and decisively in 2023 and beyond.”

The development is coming about four days after Kingsley Fanwo, Kogi commissioner for information and communication, said many people have asked Bello to contest for the highest office in the land.

Continue Reading

Most Popular