Segun Awosanya, a member of the Lagos Judicial Panel on Inquiry, who is popularly known as Segalink, has berated Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture; and the Federal Government for discrediting the panel’s report.
Awosanya made his stance known on Tuesday following the reaction of the Federal Government to the panel’s report.
The Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel had in its report submitted on 15 November to the Lagos State government stated that at least nine persons were killed by the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Police Force at the toll gate on October 20, 2020, adding that the action of the security forces can be equated to a massacre.
But speaking on Tuesday, the Federal Government, through Mohammed, disparaged the report, saying it is littered with errors and that the panel reached its conclusion by relying on “fake news” from anecdotal sources instead of factual evidence.
Reacting to the Federal Government’s stance, Awosanya the reaction of Mohammed is one of the reasons why people do not trust governments at all levels, noting that the Federal Government does not seem ready to dispense justice.
According to the panel member, the report was a “professional” work carried out by people of “integrity”.
“I often say that I don’t know how to react or respond to issues and I don’t know if it will be necessary to join issues with the Minister of Information. I don’t know in what capacity he is responding to the report that was submitted to the Lagos State Government and by extension to the National Executive Council,” Awosanya said on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“We have done our work and it is important to state clearly here that the panel members are quasi-judicial officers and they are bound in the discharge of the assignment to mirror as must as practicable, the hallowed conduct that befits the officers of justice. That means they must be detached, impartial and avoid joining issues with parties before them.”
Awosanya said the Federal Government ought to have properly studied the report to understand how the panel reached its conclusion rather than just reacting based on points raised by commentators in the media.
He added that he does not want to join words with the Information Paper until the Lagos State government releases the White Paper on the report.
He said: “Whatever term was used in the recommendations or the findings presented to the government — state or federal — was clearly defined in context.
“And I think that rather than react to the sound of the word or rather than react based on what the word might mean to them literally, they should read the report with understanding and know exactly where the panel is coming from and then do the needful.
“This is a country. This is a democracy and the people seek leadership; leadership that can actually do justice to issues. The essence of the panel itself is not to indict or punish anybody precisely.
“It is actually to bring about findings and recommendations that would ensure and ascertain healing of our society not denials.
“Why would the panel be set up in the first instance if the government knows exactly what went wrong, what happened or what transpired at locus locum? Why would you want to investigate if you already know?
“It is really sad for some of us to hear this because the panel was set up to actually assuage the people, to actually make the public know that the government is sincere enough to engage, to investigate and to come out with findings that they would do something about.
“But all these reactions show that they are not ready to do justice to the work done by the panel. I really won’t want to conclude like I said. It’s best to wait for the official response of the government.
“We’ve submitted to the Lagos state government. He gave his word that in two weeks he is going to respond to that, and after that response, we can have a robust debate on the outcome of that.
“Rather than project, react, catastrophise, I think it’s best we keep our powder dry for now. The panel did a professional work and it speaks for itself.”