Lagos #EndSARS sign illegal, cannot probe police and military, says Keyamo

Goddy Egene and Raheem Akingbolu

State Minister for Labor and Employment Festus Keyamo (SAN) said yesterday that the #EndSARS panel set up by the Lagos State government was illegal.

Keyamo, who appeared on Sunday Politics, a current affairs program on Channels Television monitored by THISDAY in Lagos, said it was outside the panel’s jurisdiction to investigate the activities of federal government institutions and officials such as the Nigerian military and the Nigerian police. .

Although the minister said he was speaking in his personal capacity as a lawyer and not as a minister of the federal government, he supported the position previously expressed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

The panel said in its report that at least nine people were killed the night soldiers and police stormed the Lekki tollgate to disperse #EndSARS protesters, describing the incident as a “massacre in its context “.

But Mohammed had dismissed the panel’s report, saying it was fake news. And Keyamo said he supported his Mohammed’s submission.

When asked why President Muhammadu Buhari called for the establishment of panels across states to investigate cases of human rights violations, Keyamo said he would not answer that question as as minister in office.

“I will answer this question as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria – a member of the Inner Bar, so I am entitled to my opinion. This is not the position of the federal government. For me, this sign was an illegal sign. It was totally illegal. Any lawyer listening to me should go back and read the Lagos State Courts of Inquiry Act. He says the governor will have the power to investigate the conduct of any person – point out any person – and leadership matters and any other matter that will promote the good of the public.

“However, ‘any person’ has been defined there in Article 21 to mean public officials of the State. It is defined to mean someone within the public service of Lagos State or local government. depending on the case.

“Then the phrase was used at the end of section 1 which says ‘any matter’… they can investigate any matter. People now think that to investigate any matter it means you may just be on the run.

“However, if you look at article 21 again, it says it is to be within the legislative competence of Lagos State. In other words, it is only people over whom Lagos State has control that they can investigate their conduct. If you don’t have control over me, you can’t investigate my conduct.

“Police, Armed Forces, Military; they are not sub or officers of the State of Lagos, they are officers of the federal government. Under the Constitution, only the federal government can control the conduct of police and military personnel. Lagos State cannot be in control; nor can they legislate in police and military matters; they are on the exclusive legislative list.

Speaking on oil subsidies, the minister said that removing subsidies has become an economic necessity that should not be politicized to enable the government to provide the necessary infrastructure to Nigerian citizens.

According to him, between 2006 and 2018, the successive administration spent 10,000 billion naira, adding that between 2019 and 2020, the country spent an additional 3 trillion naira on grants.

He said, “As I speak now, we are making around 200 billion naira to 250 billion naira per month on grants. Put that next to what we have to spend on infrastructure; roads, hospitals and electricity, you will find that our wasteful spending on subsidies robs Nigerians of what should go to infrastructure.

He expressed his displeasure at the way politicians often use the subsidy cut controversy to blackmail successive governments and make governance nearly impossible.


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