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#ENDSARS: FG Backs Lagos White Paper

INSIDEMAINLAND – The Federal Government has shown support for the Lagos State government’s White Paper on the report of the judicial panel set up to probe cases of police brutality and shooting at the Lekki tollgate, saying they are willing to take further actions.

The Lagos State government, on Tuesday, rejected key recommendations of the panel’s report especially the one that bordered on shootings at Lekki Tollgate by security agents.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, who spoke about the White Paper, said: “It all depends on the perspective you look at it and the prevailing laws that are in contexts. When you talk about laws that are exclusively applicable to the federation and context of the actual situation, it is not out of place to arrive at a conclusion. What you make out of it is a function of the applicable laws. What I am saying is not a general statement but about the factual situation of applicability and enforceability.” 

Speaking on if panels have the right to investigate the army, he said Investigation on its right is all-inclusive. There are, however, limits in terms of applicable laws. You cannot, for example, out rule the possibility of an investigation with regards to the personnel or institutions involved. If the allegation is about a breach or infraction of state law by a police officer or military personnel, it goes to reason that you cannot overrule the possibility of investigation taking into consideration the undertones of the laws of the state. But if what is in the contest is a federal law, and by which a state does not have power or jurisdiction, it should accord to common sense and the law that it is only indeed a federal establishment that can conduct wholehearted investigations into such matters. 

“So if what is in the contest is the violation of law applicable in the state, and a breach is being viewed with the purpose of ascertaining liability, certainly it is within the powers of the state to investigate. But when what is in the contest is a federal law, and then it is clear the state cannot look into it. 

“It is true that the EndSARS generated a lot of interest. What we must take into consideration here is that along the line, there were issues of hate speeches by the youths and other actors even the imposition of dramatic scenes. There was a need for a comprehensive investigation and this was why states set up panels which have finally resulted in the reports we have now. One key important thing for consideration is that many possibilities cannot be ruled out inclusive of fake news, hate speeches, impositions and drama scenes.”

When asked if the events of October 20, 2020, were real, Malami said: “It has been established beyond doubt that some of the things that were alleged to have happened, did not happen. On October 21, 2020, the BBC in a documentary had, in fact, insinuated that possibility.”

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