A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has tackled the Federal Government over the legality of the judicial panels of inquiry set up to investigate the allegations of police brutality in various states.
In a statement on Monday, he faulted the position of the Federal Government on the outcome of the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters.
Although he did not specifically mention any government official, the senior advocate issued the statement barely a day after the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, questioned the legality of the panels.
“I will not answer this question as a sitting minister,” said Keyamo who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics. “I will answer this question as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and so, I am entitled to my own opinion; this is not the Federal Government’s position.”
“For me, that panel was an illegal panel,” the minister said of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry in which Adegboruwa represented the civil society.
For the latter, the Federal Government ought to focus more on strengthening the nation’s institutions to make them work.
According to him, it is wrong for the government to initiate a process and make a U-turn later over an unfavourable outcome.
Read the statement issued by the senior lawyer below:
THE LEGALITY OF #EndSARS PANELS
The federal government has recently muted the idea that all the Judicial Panels of Inquiry set up by the various States across the Federation, especially that of Lagos State, are illegal.
It has never been part of our legal system in Nigeria, for a plaintiff who approached the court in the first instance, to turn around to challenge the legality or jurisdiction of the court.
The #EndSARS Panels were set up at the behest of the Federal Government, through the National Economic Council.
In the case of the Lagos Panel, the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Army, voluntarily submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the Panel, the federal government called witnesses, it tendered documents and it made very lengthy presentations.
A party cannot approbate and reprobate at the same time. Thus, a party who initiated a process and willingly and actively participated in that process, cannot turn around, after judgment, to plead illegality or absence of jurisdiction, simply because the outcome is unfavorable. We must strengthen our institutions to make them work.
While we all await the White Paper from the Lagos State government, it is important for government to build trust in the people in all its dealings and utterances.
God bless Nigeria.
Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN