Sunday, January 16, 2022

#EndSARS Panel: Sanwo-Olu lacks power to probe police, military, says Festus Keyamo

“Only the federal government…can control the conduct of policemen and the military. Lagos state cannot…legislate too regarding police matters and military.”

and • November 29, 2021
Festus Keyamo
Festus Keyamo

Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for Labour, says Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu lacks the power to probe the atrocities of the police and army concerning the Lekki Tollgate massacre, police brutality and extortion. 

“For me, that panel was an illegal panel. It is totally illegal. All lawyers who are listening to me should go back and read the Tribunal of Inquiry Act of Lagos state,” stated the APC minister.

“The policemen, the armed forces, the military are not officers of Lagos state. They are officers of the federal government,” asserted Mr Keyamo, citing provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). 

He added, “By virtue of the constitution, it is only the federal government that can control the conduct of policemen and the military. Lagos state cannot be in control, cannot legislate too regarding police matters and military matters.”

Mr Keyamo, while speaking during an interview with Channels TV, argued that the Lagos panel lacked the power to investigate the conduct of police and military officers.

The panel’s report had indicted the Nigerian soldiers of carrying out a massacre against peaceful and unarmed young protesters.

He added, “It says that the governor will have power to inquire into the conduct of any person and chieftaincy matters and any matter that would promote the good of the public.”

The minister argued that the state only has the power to investigate its public officers within its legislative purview.

Mr Keyamo, who tried to distance the federal government from his viewpoint, said he was speaking as a legal practitioner, adding that his opinion did not represent President Muhammadu Buhari regime’s view.

His comments came a few weeks after the judicial panel’s report established that the army killed at least 11 protesters and took their bodies away.

Last week, information minister Lai Mohammed said the panel’s report that probed the aftermath of the October 2020 military shooting of protesters in Lekki should be disregarded as fake, insisting there was no massacre.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had, in the wake of the #EndSARS protests, announced that states, including the FCT, would set up judicial panels to look into the crisis.

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