Mr Femi Falana, human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has bemoaned attempts by some individuals to discredit the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the Lekki Toll Gate incident.
The Senior Lawyer affirmed the credibility and genuinnity of the report on the Lekki Toll Gate Incident, while featuring on a Lagos-based Arise TV Morning Show.
He stated that the panel was constituted by persons of untainted integrity and it, therefore, lends credence to the thoroughness and independence of the report.
He said “If you look at the integrity of the members, you can’t question their integrity. The Chairperson is not just a retired Chief Judge, she also rose to the position of Solicitor General of the State Ministry of Justice before crossing to the Bench. Throughout her career, no lawyer, no litigant ever associated her with corruption or corrupt influences….. Other members include Mr.Taiwo Lakanni, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police…. You think he would have sat down there while the Army and Police are indicted for committing no offence?
Falana stressed that the case made against the government was irrefutable and was unchallenged, and uncontradicted.
“All the members of the panel were appointed by the government but based on the irrefutable evidence adduced before them, it became difficult to cover up.”
When asked about the discrepancies reportedly pinpointed by Counsel to Lagos State Government on the Panel, Abiodun Owonikoko SAN and one Abdullahi Yekini giving rise to controversies regarding the report, Femi Falana described the said controversies as dubious.
According to him, the complainants were not challenging the substance of the findings made by the panel but were relying on immaterial procedural lapses.
He said “There isn’t much of a controversy, what is happening is a dubious attempt to cover up the atrocity that occurred on October 20th last year…. They are not disputing profound findings of the panel.”
He described those fuelling controversies regarding the report as crying more than the bereaved as the Lagos State Government had since commenced implementation of part of the report.
While clearing the air on not justifying the leak of the report, he explained that the report was leaked to counter governmental cover-up which has been the order with similar reports in time past including the Justice Oputa report, Justice Eso report, Justice Akanbi report amongst others.