#EndSARS
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President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that the federal government will not interfere with or predict the findings of the various panels established by state governments to investigate last year’s #EndSARS protests.

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Rather, Buhari stated that his administration would wait to see what actions the governors would take before taking any action based on the findings of the investigations.

The nationwide protests in October of last year resulted in the loss of life and the indiscriminate destruction of property.

Buhari said during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Abuja that his administration was inclined to let the system work, but that the state government would have to take steps to address the issues raised in the panel’s reports before the federal government would intervene.

However, the US government, which has since expressed interest in the #EndSARS issue, stated that it would like to see both the federal and Lagos State governments ensure that the panel’s report received due accountability and attention.

However, Mr. Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), counsel to the Lagos State government on the #EndSARS panel, has rejected the panel’s findings, which were leaked on Monday. Owonikoko also contested the panel’s casualty figures.

He claimed the leaked document was riddled with inconsistencies and should not be considered accurate, especially since one of the document’s signatories, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), was absent for the majority of the hearing.

Meanwhile, sources close to Alausa, the Lagos State government’s seat, said the government spent N800 million to fund the 13-month #EndSARS investigation.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, Buhari was quoted as saying, “So many state governments are involved, and have given different terms of reference to the probe panels.”

The president told US Secretary of State John Kerry that his administration was still committed to religious freedom, adding, “No one is discriminated against because of his or her faith.”

He thanked the United States for selling weapons to Nigeria to combat insecurity.

However, Blinken, who spoke at a joint press conference with Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama at the State House in Abuja, charged the governments to ensure that the grievances of victims of security agents’ brutality were addressed.

Blinken, who had separate meetings with Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), and Onyeama during which some agreements were signed, also stated that his country was collaborating with Nigeria to address its security challenges.

We discussed the importance of a comprehensive approach that builds effective security forces, addresses the underlying drivers of extremism, and respects Nigerians’ basic human rights in meetings with the President, Vice President, and Foreign Minister.

By addressing these issues, we can help to address some of the key drivers of insecurity.

“To that end, let me say that we welcome the conclusion of the investigation by the independent inquiry established by the Lagos State government to look into the events that occurred at Lekki Tollgate in Lagos in October of 2020, amidst the #EndSARS protest, including the killings and other alleged abuses by security forces.”

“We anticipate and look forward to the state and federal governments’ responses to the findings, which we expect to include steps to ensure accountability and address the victims’ and their families’ grievances.”

“We’re also collaborating closely with Nigeria to assist the populations most affected by conflict and violence in the country, particularly in the Northeast, where the US is providing critical humanitarian assistance to approximately 2.2 million internally displaced Nigerians.” The United States continues to build military capacity with Nigeria, including the recent delivery of 12 A29 Super Tucano aircraft, but capacity building goes much deeper than delivering military hardware, which we also discussed.

He then charged the government with ensuring the safety and well-being of groups involved in human rights advocacy, such as journalists and rights crusaders.

He stated that journalists, human rights defenders, and other members of Nigeria’s thriving civil society are vital in bringing these and other issues to light.

According to him, their ability to exercise freedom of expression and other fundamental human rights is critical to advocating for individuals and communities and strengthening this country’s vibrant democracy, as evidenced by successful efforts to promote electoral reform and lower the age at which Nigerians can run for office.

“I am looking forward to meeting several of these leaders tomorrow (today), including faith leaders who are working to defuse communal tensions and promote peace.” And we look forward to Nigeria, Africa’s largest democracy, participating in the Democracy Summit next month. All participants from government and civil society will pledge to improve and strengthen democracy in their respective countries, as well as to strengthen the partnership among democratic nations.

“The range of issues we’re working on together is vast, but given our shared interests and challenges, delivering for our people necessitates finding ways to deepen our existing ties and partnerships even further.”

That is ultimately what this visit and the work that we do every single day, between our governments and between our people,” he said.

Speaking of collaboration in various areas, he stated that, in addition to the 7.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines recently delivered to Nigeria at no cost, more would be delivered before the end of the year, citing other areas of collaboration between the two countries.

President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that the federal government will not interfere with or predict the findings of the various panels established by state governments to investigate last year’s #EndSARS protests.

Rather, Buhari stated that his administration would wait to see what actions the governors would take before taking any action based on the findings of the investigations.

The nationwide protests in October of last year resulted in the loss of life and the indiscriminate destruction of property.

Buhari said during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Abuja that his administration was inclined to let the system work, but that the state government would have to take steps to address the issues raised in the panels’ reports before the federal government would intervene.

However, the US government, which has since expressed interest in the #EndSARS issue, stated that it would like to see both the federal and Lagos State governments ensure that the panel’s report received due accountability and attention.

However, Mr. Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), counsel to the Lagos State government on the #EndSARS panel, has rejected the panel’s findings, which were leaked on Monday. Owonikoko also contested the panel’s casualty figures.

He claimed the leaked document was riddled with inconsistencies and should not be considered accurate, especially since one of the document’s signatories, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), was absent for the majority of the hearing.

Meanwhile, sources close to Alausa, the Lagos State government’s seat, said the government spent N800 million to fund the 13-month #EndSARS investigation.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, Buhari was quoted as saying, “So many state governments are involved, and have given different terms of reference to the probe panels.”The president told US Secretary of State John Kerry that his administration was still committed to religious freedom, adding, “No one is discriminated against because of his or her faith.”

He thanked the United States for selling weapons to Nigeria to combat insecurity.

However, Blinken, who spoke at a joint press conference with Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama at the State House in Abuja, charged the governments to ensure that the grievances of victims of security agents’ brutality were addressed.

Blinken, who had separate meetings with Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), and Onyeama during which some agreements were signed, also stated that his country was collaborating with Nigeria to address its security challenges.

“We are collaborating with Nigeria to address security challenges such as Boko Haram, ISIS West Africa, and other terrorist and extremist groups.”

We discussed the importance of a comprehensive approach that builds effective security forces, addresses the underlying drivers of extremism, and respects Nigerians’ basic human rights in meetings with the President, Vice President, and Foreign Minister.”The United States is committed to assisting Nigeria in doing so by continuing to invest in our security partnership as well as institutions that strengthen the rule of law and hold those accountable who commit human rights violations, corruption, and other acts that harm the Nigerian people.”

By addressing these issues, we can help to address some of the key drivers of insecurity.

“To that end, let me say that we welcome the conclusion of the investigation by the independent inquiry established by the Lagos State government to look into the events that occurred at Lekki Tollgate in Lagos in October of 2020, amidst the #EndSARS protest, including the killings and other alleged abuses by security forces.”

“We anticipate and look forward to the state and federal governments’ responses to the findings, which we expect to include steps to ensure accountability and address the victims’ and their families’ grievances.”

“We’re also collaborating closely with Nigeria to assist the populations most affected by conflict and violence in the country, particularly in the Northeast, where the US is providing critical humanitarian assistance to approximately 2.2 million internally displaced Nigerians.” The United States continues to build military capacity with Nigeria, including the recent delivery of 12 A29 Super Tucano aircraft, but capacity building goes much deeper than delivering military hardware, which we also discussed.

He then charged the government with ensuring the safety and well-being of groups involved in human rights advocacy, such as journalists and rights crusaders.

He stated that journalists, human rights defenders, and other members of Nigeria’s thriving civil society are vital in bringing these and other issues to light.

According to him, their ability to exercise freedom of expression and other fundamental human rights is critical to advocating for individuals and communities and strengthening this country’s vibrant democracy, as evidenced by successful efforts to promote electoral reform and lower the age at which Nigerians can run for office.

“I am looking forward to meeting several of these leaders tomorrow (today), including faith leaders who are working to defuse communal tensions and promote peace.” And we look forward to Nigeria, Africa’s largest democracy, participating in the Democracy Summit next month. All participants from government and civil society will pledge to improve and strengthen democracy in their respective countries, as well as to strengthen the partnership among democratic nations.

Also read: Peace as panacea for socio economic development

“The range of issues we’re working on together is vast, but given our shared interests and challenges, delivering for our people necessitates finding ways to deepen our existing ties and partnerships even further.”

That is ultimately what this visit and the work that we do every single day, between our governments and between our people,” he said.

Speaking of collaboration in various areas, he stated that, in addition to the 7.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines recently delivered to Nigeria at no cost, more would be delivered before the end of the year, citing other areas of collaboration between the two countries.

The Lagos State Counsel also stated that there was no mention in the report of hoodlums attempting to attack a traditional ruler and raze the Oriental Hotel in Lekki during the protest.

According to the leaked report, there was an “atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless, and unresisting #EndSARS protesters while sitting on the floor, waving Nigerian flags, and singing the National Anthem, and thus concluded that it amounted to a massacre.'”

It claimed that security forces killed 11 protesters and injured over 40 others, contradicting claims by the army and the Lagos State government that no protesters were killed.

“The soldiers deliberately fired blank and live bullets into the midst of the protesters at the Lekki tollgate, with the intent to assault, maim, and kill.” “The soldiers turned back ambulances that had been invited to provide first aid and assistance to the injured protesters,” according to the report.

According to the leaked report, there were attempts to cover up the killings, such as soldiers picking up bullet shells on the night of October 20, 2020, and policemen following up on the morning of October 21, 2020, to pick up bullet shells. It went on to say that LCC officials tampered with the CCTV cameras.

However, the army claimed that soldiers stationed at the Lekki tollgate only fired blank bullets into the air and acted in accordance with the rules of engagement. The Lagos State Government has yet to respond officially to the report, but it has stated that the state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has summoned soldiers to the scene.

Adegboruwa: Lagos State Government Funding Smear Campaign Against Panel Members

Meanwhile, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, a member of the #EndSARS panel, has accused the Lagos State government of sponsoring a smear campaign against members of the panel.

Adegboruwa said in a statement that since the #EndSARS panel report was submitted to the governor of Lagos State on November 15, members of the panel have been the target of vicious attacks by those suspected to be government agents.

Adegboruwa accused the Lagos State government of unleashing mindless propaganda on panel members while also pleading with the public to exercise restraint.

Panel members have been subjected to a slew of allegations, with some being dubbed “unprintable names.” “I can confirm that no panel member lobbied to be appointed to the panel.” In my case, His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, appealed to me to accept my appointment, which I interpreted as a call to national service.

The governor’s primary reason for appointing me to the Panel was that he wanted men and women of integrity, who were independent and not susceptible to manipulation. Just today, my attention was drawn to an interview conducted by a Senior Counsel to the Lagos State government, in which panel members claimed to have received bribes during the course of the assignment. It is unjust, ungodly, and uncharacteristic of the government and its lawyers.”

“The Lagos State Government requested two weeks to allow it to release a White Paper on the panel’s report.” And we’ve been waiting, but it appears that the Lagos State Government has now unleashed mindless propaganda on panel members while pleading with the general public to exercise restraint.

I implore the government to summon its agents and lawyers so that aggravated reactions are avoided.”

“It is unjust to seek to denigrate people’s hard-earned reputations solely because they agreed to perform selfless service at the request of the government.” Nothing prevents us from defending our integrity if the government and its agents are not restrained from attacking others. I should not be the target of unjustified attacks simply because I agreed to serve the government and the outcome of that assignment did not meet the government’s expectations. Suffice it to say that I worked with men and women of impeccable character, and I am honored to have been associated with them all.”

Adegboruwa urged the Lagos State government to keep its promise to release a White Paper on the inquiry report within two weeks and to “send the panel’s unedited report to the National Economic Council

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