Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has addressed Lagosians on the Lekki Tollgate shooting and panel report.
In his address on Tuesday, Sanwo-Olu expressed regrets over the leaked EndSARS panel report, assured that his administration is determined necessary steps to bring closure to a painful episode in the history (Octover 20) of the State, with the release of the White Paper later today.
Recall that a panel set up by the state government to investigate the incident had indicted the Nigerian Army and Police, as well as the state government in the killing of unarmed peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate.
Read full text below;
“My dear good people of Lagos State, It is with great sense of responsibility that I address you today on the reactions that have trailed the release of the #EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry Report submitted to me two weeks ago, and how it has played out in public discourse since then.
“I believe — and have always been vocal about this — that we owe it to you, the people of Lagos, to constantly speak and engage with you. In easy times, in difficult circumstances, we will never shy away from making our case to you, while also ensuring that we listen to you.
“I will start by saying that we, as an administration, are determined that the next steps that will be taken in this process of coming to terms with the events of October 2020, must bring closure to a painful episode in the history of our State, with the release of the White Paper later today.
“This, in my view, is a moment that beckons us to define who and what we are as a people.
“To be a Centre of Excellence, we must be a Centre of Truth. To be a smart city, we first must be a just one.
“To be a prosperous state, we must establish ourselves as a peaceful entity. And to achieve the Greater Lagos of our dreams we must learn to live in harmony, even amidst inevitable disagreement.
“In times like these, with anger and animosity too quick and fast at hand, it is easy to hide behind our own prejudices, treating them as deeper truths instead of the superficial lies they are.
“It is far too easy to take sides and choose emotion over fact, even when the truth is to be found in shades of nuance. It is easy to choose darkness over light; to take perverse delight in playing unhelpful games of cynicism and suspicion; to cling to beliefs that do not carry the weight of verifiable evidence.
“To become a champion of prejudice is to own a fleeting and false victory. It is a victory of rancor over reason, of vengeance over justice, of anger over compassion.
“Today, I stand before you to declare that I reject this path; and I invite you all to do same.
“The choice confronting us today is between restoring greater harmony or doing greater harm. I choose harmony over harm. As your Governor, it is my task to explain why all Lagosians should join me on this path that promises a more beneficial future.
“Fellow Lagosians, let me at this point bring to the fore some very important context that we must never lose sight of. You will recall that the Judicial Panel of Inquiry was originally inaugurated to investigate allegations of police brutality committed by the disbanded SARS in Lagos state.
“In the aftermath of what happened on October 20, 2020, I decided to expand the mandate of the Panel to include investigating what really happened at the Lekki Tollgate that night.
“As a matter of good faith and a sincere commitment to uncovering the truth, we constituted a panel of individuals that we believed were independent, credible, and representative of the various stakeholder community interested in the movement against police brutality.
“Apart from the Chairman of the panel being a respected retired jurist, various stakeholders including the youths, #EndSars protesters, the police and civil society groups were represented on the panel.
“I am sure no member of the panel can claim that the state government made any attempt to influence them in any way throughout the duration of its sitting.
“While I commend the panel for undertaking its task to the best of its abilities, it is however regrettable that the panel’s work and the leakage of an unauthorized version of the report have generated much tension. Sadly, a deep wound has been reopened.
“The heated exchanges among various shades of opinion on the report have unfortunately put us all at the risk of missing the larger picture; the fact that what we all seek in common is a land in which we are all safe and secure, law enforcement agents are trusted, and justice is guaranteed for all.
“As I have stated earlier, we have no intention to engage in histrionics or further inflame passion on a matter that has generated intense interest and controversy nationally and internationally. Our decisions and actions will be based entirely on the law, the weight of evidence and an unblemished respect for the truth.
“Let me at this juncture say that I have never been in any doubt as to the sincerity, patriotism and noble motivations of both organizers of and participants in the movement to see an end to the human rights abuses by the now disbanded Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS).
“It is also on record that the Federal Government accepted all the demands of the protesters, including the immediate scrapping of SARS. The National Economic Council (NEC) also recommended the establishment of State Panels of Inquiry into cases of police brutality. And the Lagos State Government was the first to set up its own panel.
“I can boldly say that no State took the advocacy for police reforms and justice in the face of documented brutality more seriously than we did in Lagos. We have so far paid N420million in compensation to victims of police brutality, in line with the recommendations of the panel.
“My good people of Lagos State, you will also recall that, in solidarity with the protesters, I joined our youths at various points during the demonstrations, particularly at the Lekki Tollgate and Alausa.
“I received the charter of demands of the protesters and promised to pass them on to the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I kept my word and passed on the demands to the President, who promised to act promptly on the issues raised.
“However, perhaps as a result of entrenched lack of trust between the government and the governed over the years, the protesters responded to the government’s concessions with skepticism, and the demonstrations continued, even growing in intensity.
“Regrettably, what had been very well organized and peaceful protests were subsequently hijacked in different parts of the country, particularly in Lagos.
“In the ensuing descent into anarchy, many of our compatriots were caught up in the violence. Several policemen were killed. Public and private property, including critical infrastructure, were set on fire, leading to losses estimated at several billions of naira.
“At that point, I imposed a curfew to restore normalcy in Lagos. We had only one goal in mind: the maintenance of law and order, and protection of citizens going about their daily lives. This is more than a legal duty. It is a sacred obligation under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which I swore to uphold.
“In my inaugural speech on May 29, 2019, I said, Let us explore how we can establish a harmony of interests and avoid the growing tendency to focus on those things that differentiate and divide one Lagosian from another. By dint of providence, this small tract of land intersected and surrounded by waterways and lagoons has become home to roughly twenty-two million people, with their various dreams and aspirations.”
“It is my earnest desire that all of us — the government, the youth, protesters, the police, and other security agencies — learn the appropriate lessons from the #EndSars protests, particularly the Lekki Tollgate incident, with a view to averting any recurrence to the detriment of our dear state.
“It is a testimony to our strength and resilience as a people that, despite the huge losses incurred because of these terrible incidents, we have bounced back, with our economy as vibrant and virile as ever. I have no doubt whatsoever that our prospects are as bright as ever and the best lies ahead of Lagos State and Nigeria.
“My Dear Lagosians, let me remind you of our collective strength as a people. We are that social collective who through the resilience of our Spirit confronted an unseen enemy called Covid- 19. In our common resolve, we overcame the worst of the pandemic.
“We are the great people who triumphed over the terrible explosion at Ado-Soba, an incident in which many lives and property were lost. Just a month ago, we rose above the differences in our tribes and tongues; we rallied our inner strength to rescue survivors of the collapsed Ikoyi building and console those who lost their loved ones.
THE TESTAMENT TO THE RESILIENCE OF OUR SPIRIT RESTS IN HOW WE RISE AFTER EVERY ADVERSITY. THIS IS WHO WE ARE. THIS IS THE TRUE SPIRIT OF LAGOS.
“Our resilient and irrepressible spirit also propels us to show our empathetic nature in the face of tribulations has long defined us as a people; and is also at the root of the just clamor for an end to Police brutality.
“Going forward, dear Lagosians, we shall facilitate better communication between our youths and the state’s security machinery to resolve issues before they become intractable. We will make it easier for our young people to initiate formal complaints on human rights violations through the Ministry of Justice.
“We will also improve the coordination between the state government and the security agencies, including the police and the military. In this vein, we are studying how to improve security policy formulation, information sharing, and clarifying rules of engagement in times of social unrest.
“Just as we have established a mechanism to compensate all those who lost homes, businesses, and livelihoods to the violent destruction of October 2020, we shall also establish a detailed procedure for the just compensation of citizens with verified claims of police brutality committed during the protests.
“In December, I will be leading A WALK FOR PEACE to herald the healing of our land. Let me use this occasion to extend an open invitation to our youths, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society groups, students and the media as well as other stakeholders to join me.
“Folarin Falana (Falz). Debo Adebayo (Mr. Marcaroni). Dele Farotimi. Temitope Majekodunmi. Segun Awosanya(Segalinks). Adetoun (Just Detoun). Seun Kuti. Cp Hakeem Odumosu. Csp Yinka Egbeyemi.
“Join me on this historic march for our dear lagos. Nobody will build this city for us. Let us show the world who we are. We are lagosians. A people of great renown, driven by the irrepressible spirit of Lagos”.
The Untold Story Of Degeneration Of Osun APC Crisis By Aladelola Adisa
The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State of Osun might not have festered to date if fairness, unity and collective purpose wasn’t jettisoned by the current administration in the State, investigations have revealed.
Due to controversies surrounding the emergence and eventual assumption of office of Governor Oyetola, efforts were not spared to unite members of the APC political family in Osun.
Findings revealed that rather than the Governor and his loyalists strengthening and rejuvenating the party for the consolidation of progressive legacies in the state, it began an unprecedented politics of segregation and exclusivity against members of the party that brought him to power in 2018.
A source who is close to the two camps told journalists that party members who wanted to ensure that the crisis did not degenerate, at its earlier stage, formed The Osun Progressives (TOP), a caucus of the party in a bid to right the wrongs of the factional party chairman, Gboyega Famodun and by extension, the Governor’s camp.
A top party chieftain in the state who prayed not to be named because of the height of the crisis said Governor Oyetola’s strong position not to associate with anyone who believed in his predecessor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s administration was the first in the series of strokes he used to further divide the party.
The party leader explained further: “Since the creation of Osun in August 27, 1991, Osun has been democratically governed with Osun West Senatorial District taking the first shot but ruling for just less than 24 months; Osun East Senatorial District ruling for eight years; Osun Central Senatorial District where Governor Oyetola hails from would have ruled for 15 and half years by the end of his tenure.
With three Governors: Chief Bisi Akande, four years; Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, seven and half years; and Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola who would have spent four years at the end of his first term by 2022 being from the same Ifelodun/Boripe/Odo-Otin Federal Constituency as Oyinlola.
“In 2018, the agitation for the Osun West Senatorial District to produce the next Governor was fierce and huge. It was so fierce that all party leaders, starting from the elders, Agba Osun caucus of APC, majority of the State Executive Council, and virtually all organs of the party were hell-bent on “WEST LOKAN AGENDA.
“In spite of this clamour, the then Chief of Staff, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, was produced as the APC candidate for the State Gubernatorial Election.
“That decision alone fragmented the party such that a section of the party decamped to the ADP, costing APC at least 49,000 votes in the 2018 election. Eventually, the election was declared Inconclusive and a Rerun was ordered, with Alhaji Oyetola eventually winning with a slim margin.
“Although, many factors were responsible for the declaration of the election being Inconclusive, among which was the decamping of aggrieved section of APC members to the ADP – costing APC over 49,000 votes, the unpopularity of the APC candidate as well as the general clamour for OSUN WEST DISTRICT to field the next Governor were the driving factors for APC’s unusually slim victory in the 2018 guber elections”.
Speaking further, and digging deeper into the unpopularity of the candidate, the source posited, “If we compare the results of Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola in his home local governments and that of his closest rival, the PDP candidate in his home local governments, we will discover the huge difference of 21,525 votes in favour of the PDP candidate. This is significant, considering the fact that, PDP could only lead APC after the first ballot by only 353 votes.
“Instead of considering the above factors as the main factors responsible for the declaration of the election Inconclusive, Governor Oyetola, from the inception of his administration embarked on a campaign of calumny and politics of division within the party. Under the Oyetola administration, whoever is perceived to be associated with or harbour any interest in the legacy of immediate past administration or commitment to his predecessor is alienated from the party and government regardless of their contribution to the success of the party.”
Another albatross, the APC chieftain remarked hanging on the neck of Oyetola and his IleriOluwa camp, was the reversal of the major policies of the Aregbesola administration spitefully. They noted that since the start of his administration, the Governor had publicly shown his disdain for the Minister which Ogbeni was aware of but kept mum in the spirit of party cohesion and political maturity.
“For example, when the Muslim Community in Osun was planning to honour Ogbeni with the title of WAZIRI’L MUMINEEN of the State of Osun, the Governor and his team bluntly showed disdain for the event. Despite the fact that Governor Oyetola was the one that picked the date for the programme, he directed that major functionaries of his government should not attend the programme, while also travelling out of the country himself. The only Local Government Chairman who took active role in the programme, Hon Akeem Olaoye, then Chairman of Osogbo South LCDA was suspended from office for six months. Till today, the unbridled castigation of APC Party stalwarts by members of Oyetola’s administration is the order the day.”
He said while all these were going on, some concerned members of the party approached the Governor to have a rethink about his actions and inactions against APC stalwarts including the former Governor, but the Governor did not yield.
The APC leader noted, “The issues were brought to the attention of Baba Bisi Akande, the former Governor of Osun, for resolutions, though this effort did not produce a decisive resolution. Thereafter, in December 2020, Asiwaju intervened at a meeting held at the Ila Orangun residence of Baba Bisi Akande, with Baba Akande, Governor Oyetola and Ogbeni in attendance where resolutions were agreed. However, the resolutions taken at that meeting were jettisoned and the leaders have not since then raised a finger.
“When there was no solution in sight, genuine party leaders who love the party and majority of people who suffered before we could restore the progressive party back to power in Osun 12 years ago, came together to form The Osun Progressives (TOP), in order to reorganize the party for future elections.
“Immediately The Osun Progressives (TOP) was formed, the Government started castigating leaders of the group and its members. Though this attack has continued unabated, however on a daily basis, members of TOP have kept increasing.
“Immediately the timetable for Ward Congress was released by the National Secretariat of the APC, the leadership of TOP announced to the whole world that they were ready for the Congress but the Governor’s group, said they were not ready for a Congress rather they settled for Consensus. While TOP went for real Congress, the Governor’s group went for a dubious ‘CONSENSUS’.
“The Governor used his position as a member of the Caretaker Extraordinary and Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the APC with the support of Senator Iyiola Omisore, to influence the Chairman of the Osun Convention Planning Committee, Hon. Elegbeleye to declare the Governor’s group consensus list as duly elected ward Executives; TOP then petitioned the National Secretariat in the form of an Appeal and eventually the Appeal Committee came, they were equally compromised by the Governor, using his influence as a member of CECPC. But one significant thing about the Appeal was during its sitting, known thugs from the Governor’s group came to disrupt the proceedings.
“However, seven leaders of TOP were arraigned before the Magistrate Court instead of arresting and prosecuting thugs. The case was eventually dismissed.
As the crisis continued, especially in relation to the party Congress, numerous party leaders have intervened without any clear resolution in sight.
“On January 8, 2022, the APC National Reconciliation Committee arrives Osun, met with Governor Oyetola’s APC factions, who urged the National Reconciliation Committee to disregard the petitions forwarded to it by TOP.”
While expressing optimism for an end in sight to the crisis, the party chieftain called for a genuine, equitable and fair reconciliation as the chieftain posited, “if with a united party in 2018, the current Governor barely won the election, how will the party perform with a divided house as we approach the coming Guber election”.
FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello Recovers From COVID-19
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello, has recovered from COVID-19.
He made this known in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
The minister had on December 31, 2021, announced that he tested positive for COVID-19.
While announcing his new status, the minister urged Nigerians to get vaccinated.
He said, “Best regards to all. Pleased to report that after taking my prescribed course of COVID-19 medication, I feel very well and great. The doctors have confirmed that I am now free of the virus and it is okay for me to resume all official activities.
“I wish to convey my sincere appreciation to all those who showed great concern for my health status, through various channels of communication.
“I also wish to commend the FCTA Medical team for their commitment and dedication to duty. All COVID-19 patients in the FCT are truly thankful to you.
“Let me use this opportunity to further reiterate that COVID-19 is very much around. I therefore once more, I appeal to residents to get themselves vaccinated. Doing so could save their lives.”
Court Adjourns Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial
The Federal High Court has adjourned the trial of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Crystal News reports that Nnamdi Kanu’s trial resumed today, Tuesday, January 18, 2022, at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Barely 24 hours to Kanu’s trial, the Buhari-led government issued fresh charges agains the IPOB leader.
However, Kanu declined to take his plea in the 15-count terrorism charges instituted against him by the Federal Government.
He accused the government of ambushing him with the fresh charges served on him late Monday.
Kanu, through his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), alleged that the government has breached the principle of fair hearing with the way and manner the new charge was brought to them.
At the resumed trial, Ozekhome complained that the fresh charge was the sixth in the series adding that his client cannot proceed to take a plea in the charges he has not studied to prepare for defence as required by law.
“My Lord, as I am talking now, Kanu does not know the charge yet. He is just interacting with me. He cannot be made to take a plea to charges he has not seen.
“The principle of fair hearing is just being violated by the Federal Government. The frail-looking Kanu standing in the dock there has not been allowed to access his family as directed by this honourable court,” he said.
In addition, Ozekhome claimed that the proof of evidence was not legible enough for their understanding of the fresh charges.
“I went to DSS to see him and I was almost stripped naked before I could see him.
“We pray that the arraignment is adjourned till tomorrow to enable his lawyers to study the new charge along with him in the interest of justice,” he added.
The request for adjournment was not opposed by Mr Shuaib Labaran who stood for the Federal Government, prompting Justice Binta Nyako to fix tomorrow for the arraignment.
The judge ordered that Kanu and his lawyers be allowed to have an interface in the courtroom before taking him to DSS custody.
Earlier, Kanu had, through his lawyer, complained of poor feeding, clothing, and denial to practice the religion of his choice.
Justice Nyako in response reminded him that the detention facility is not a five-star hotel but however ordered that Kanu be allowed to come to court tomorrow in new clothes.
The judge declined the request that a foreign lawyer, Mr Bruce Fein, be allowed into the courtroom to observe the trial adding that the request would be granted upon a written application and approval by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.
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