By PETERS On Nov 29, 2021

Festus Keyamo

The judicial panels investigating the  October 2020 #EndSARS protests and cases of police brutality across the country are illegal, Minister of State for Labour and Employment  Festus Keyamo has declared.

Keyamo was however, quick to explain that his comment was not that of the Federal Government, but his personal view as a lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

Keyamo was responding specifically to a question yesterday by Channels Television  Sunday Politics about the position of the Federal Government regarding the leaked report of the Lagos  State Panel of Inquiry on Restitution of   Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Related    Matters.

He said: “I will not answer this question as a sitting minister. I will answer this question as a SAN 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.”

But, a former Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Vice President Monday Ubani, disagreed with him, saying his(Keyamo) comment was “suspicious, , pathetic and provoking..”

“His logic and submissions are not only suspicious, but provoking. He never expressed this viewpoint until after the report from Lagos Panel indicted the government of the day. His view is  so pathetic!.”

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had last week written off the leaked report.

Mohammed said that the report which he described as an equivalent of fake news was riddled with a lot of errors, inconsistencies, and discrepancies.

He went ahead to conclude that report was “social media tales by the moonlight’’ and sheer waste of taxpayers’ money.

The Lagos panel had on November 15  submitted two documents — a consolidated report on cases of police brutality and another on the Lekki shooting investigation — to  Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Sanwo-Olu consequently set up a four-man committee to examine the documents  within two weeks and “bring forward the White Paper” that would be considered by  the  state executive council.

Hours afterward, a version of the 309-page document appeared in the media space.

In that version, the panel said the “killing of unarmed protesters by soldiers on October 20, 2020, could be described in the context of a ‘massacre’”.

The report immediately elicited varied reactions, with some persons citing errors in it and others querying the panel members’ competence and integrity.

The National Economic Council (NEC) had after the protests advised state governments to set up investigative committees and submit their recommendations to it.