Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described the Lagos State’s white paper from the outcomes of the year-long Lagos State commission of investigation on #ENDSARS protest as a “rumpled paper, white lies tissues of falsehoods and political gymnastics.”
The rights group said the deliberate action of the Lagos State governor to play the role of a maverick by editing out the heart and mind of the findings and recommendations of the panel on the #ENDSARS Protests, shows that all the while the setting up of the investigation commission which gulped millions of taxpayers money was simply for political gimmicks and shadow chasing.
“The so called white paper is a total package of half baked white lies which were actually manufactured to satisfy the political godfather and the man who singlehandedly railroaded the little known Mr. Jide Sanwaolu into office as Governor in 2019 after denying the then incumbent Governor of the opportunity of a second term because perhaps he got tired of playing the second fiddle and revolted against the political godfather in Bourdillon streets Ikoyi Lagos.
“We had thought it was mere speculations that the owners of Lekki Toll Gate were connected to the former governor of Lagos State but with this brazen government’s magic performed by Governor SanwaOlu in the open, it is now clear that we were taken for a ride with the setting up of the Lagos panel whose members nevertheless discharged their mandates honourably to the chargrin and disapproval of the powers that be in Lagos state,” a statement issued by HURIWA on Wednesday said.
HURIWA also condemned the Lagos State governor for allowing his political allegiance to the family of the owners of the concensioned Lekki Toll gate linked to the Godfather of Lagos State, to taint and manipulate the well though out recommendations and findings of the judicial panel.
HURIWA through its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National director of media Miss. Zainab Yusuf said it was laughable that the governor could pick and choose which of the findings of the panel on the number and identities of casualties from the brutal attacks by armed security operatives against protesters on October 20th 2020 would qualify as being politically correct or not.
Besides, HURIWA dismissed the actions of Lagos State governor on the panel’s report as “government magic”, because according to HURIWA, the Lagos State Governor was tutored to reject the fundamentals and kernel of the findings of the panel by the likes of Lai Mohamed and Festus Keyawo both of whom are APC politicians and ministers who had rejected the panel.
HURIWA said: “From the body language of the Lagos State governor and given the fact that the lawyers to the state government had since the report leaked to the press, attempted to rubbish the good works of the panel, it was crystal clear since two weeks ago that nothing good would emerge from the white paper drafting committee because the political godfather of Lagos has ownership Stake of the alleged crime scene being the Lekki Toll gate.
“HURIWA recalled that the Lagos State Government had rejected the resolution of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters that no fewer than nine persons lost their lives when armed soldiers stormed the Lekki toll gate to disperse #EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020.
“This claim, which was contained in a 41-page White Paper released by the state government on Tuesday night, countered the findings by the Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel that nine persons were killed by gunshots at the toll gate.
” The JPI had recommended that a monument memorialising the lives lost and those injured should be erected at the Lekki toll.
” Countering the recommendation, the state government said, ‘This recommendation is not acceptable to Lagos State Government for the following reasons: The finding of the JPI at page 288 paragraph M is that The evidence of the pathologist Prof Obafunwa that only 3 of the bodies that they conducted post mortem examination on were from Lekki and only one had gunshot injury and this was not debunked.
“HURIWA regretted that the Lagos State governor had missed an opportunity of a lifetime to be recognised as a true hero of democracy but has chosen to play the well known game of the political status quo which is anti people and anti progressive,” the statement said.