Human Rights activist and a member of the Lagos panel constituted to probe the Lekki shootings of October 20, 2020, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), has said that the EndSARS panels set up by state governments across the country are legal and can probe the brutality and extrajudicial killings committed by members of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Army.
The senior advocate said the judicial panels were set up at the behest of the Federal Government, through the National Economic Council, and so, cannot be termed illegal because the findings of some of the panels aren’t in favor of the regime of the President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recall that the Minister of State for Labor and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), on Sunday, had dismissed the EndSARS panel set up by the Lagos State Government and the report it presented to the state government recently.
Keyamo had said the panel was illegal because it was out of the jurisdiction of the panel to investigate the activities of Federal Government institutions and officials such as the Police and the Army.
But in a statement on Monday titled, ‘The Legality Of #EndSARS Panels’, Adegboruwa said, “The Federal Government has recently muted the idea that all the Judicial Panels of Inquiry set up by the various States across the Federation, especially that of Lagos State, are illegal.
“It has never been part of our legal system in Nigeria, for a plaintiff who approached the court in the first instance, to turn around to challenge the legality or jurisdiction of the court.
“The EndSARS Panels were set up at the behest of the Federal Government, through the National Economic Council. In the case of the Lagos Panel, the federal government, through the Nigerian Army, voluntarily submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the Panel, the federal government called witnesses, it tendered documents and it made very lengthy presentations.
A party cannot approbate and reprobate at the same time. Thus, a party who initiated a process and willingly and actively participated in that process, cannot turn around, after judgment, to plead illegality or absence of jurisdiction, simply because the outcome is unfavourable. We must strengthen our institutions to make them work.
“While we all await the White Paper from the Lagos State Government, it is important for government to build trust in the people in all its dealings and utterances” he said.