Buhari, Lai Mohammed lack power to reject report #EndSARS panel, Falana

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Femi Falana has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop Lai Mohammed from criticizing the #EndSARS panel report released in Lagos.

“Mr. Mohammed’s actions jeopardize the country’s rule of law and social justice.” The lawyer and human rights activist said in a statement on Wednesday that President Buhari should “call him to order.”

After the army and police opened fire on unarmed protesters in October last year, the Buhari regime has attempted to discredit the evidence of casualties at the Lekki toll gate.

Mr Mohammed dismissed the report as “fake news,” despite the findings of the panel, which found that the army killed at least 11 protesters and took their bodies away.

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“There’s absolutely nothing in the report that’s circulating to convince us that there was a massacre in Lekki on October 20, 2020,” the information minister insisted.

He had also demanded an unqualified apology from media outlets and human rights organizations for releasing what he called “doctored” videos in an attempt to smear the president’s image.

Mr Falana chastised the minister, saying his “executive rascality” had overruled the president, who had assured US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken that the regime would act on the panel’s report.

“However, in a stunning display of executive rascality, Mr Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, has overruled the President by rejecting the Lagos Panel’s report on behalf of the Federal Government,” he said.

Mr Mohammed’s rejection of the report was “the height of arrogant contempt” towards constitutionally elected governors, according to the activist, who also chastised him for not waiting for state governors’ reactions before concluding that the report was fake.

“By rejecting the report of the Judicial Commission established by him under the Lagos State Tribunal of Enquiry Law, the Minister decided to insult the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.”

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“As a result, the Minister has handed a fait accompli to the Governor, who is currently studying the report. Mr. Falana stated that the Governor must follow Mr. Mohammed’s orders.

“It is regrettable to note that the Minister has failed to realise that the Lagos State Government is not an extension of the Federal Government but a sovereign entity under the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Constitution,” the renowned lawyer added.

“Because the Federal Government’s name is not vested with any authority under the Tribunal of Enquiry Law,” he said, “the purported rejection of the report by the Minister should be treated with scorn by the Lagos State Government.”

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Mr Falana reiterated that the minister’s comments on the report lacked originality, claiming that he had failed to refute the report’s findings and recommendations.

Mr Mohammed’s callous remarks about the cold-blooded murder of unarmed civilians, he said, were a sad reminder of his own experience with the same brutalizing forces.

Mr Mohammed, the APC’s then Publicity Secretary, was abducted by operatives of the State Security Service on August 8, 2014, while on his way to support the reelection bid of the then Osun governor and interior minister, Rauf Aregbesola.

“Governor Aregbesola awoke me from my sleep and asked me to help him find Mr. Mohammed. “However, when it was reported that he had regained his freedom a few hours later, I was relieved,” the lawyer said.

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