Lawyer asks Ogun govt to make report public

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A lawyer, Festus Ogun, has asked the Ogun State Government to make public the final report of the state’s judicial panel of investigation into police brutality and extrajudicial killings.

The report, which was submitted to Governor Dapo Abiodun last July, recommended the award of over N218 million as compensation to 42 victims or families who suffered police brutality.

According to Mr Ogun, he has submitted a Freedom of Information request to the state government asking that the report be released because it would be beneficial to the public.

The lawyer, however, commended the state government for setting up the panel with a mandate to investigate alleged cases of police brutality against citizens.

“Thankfully, the Ogun State EndSARS Panel chaired by Justice Solomon Olugbemi, submitted its report on July 9, 2021 to Your Excellency – for implementation and other necessary actions.

“In view of this, I write pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 to respectfully request for a clean copy of the report submitted by the Ogun State Judicial Panel of Investigation into Police Brutality and Extrajudicial Killings.

“As a Nigerian citizen, human rights activist, Ogun-born legal practitioner and a lawful participant in the historical #EndSARS protest, I strongly believe that providing a copy of the significant report will be greatly beneficial to public interest and the restitution process for victims whose fates hang on the report and its implementation.”

Asked what he would do if the government refuses to make the report public despite his request under the law, the lawyer said, “There is absolutely no reason to hide the document from the public.

“We are confident that this request will be treated urgently in line with the 7 days rule stipulated under Section 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011. Finally, I undertake to pay necessary fees and administrative charges, if any, incidental thereto.”

White paper

Mr Ogun’s request came days after Lagos #EndSARS panel submitted its report to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, with the latter immediately constituting a four-member panel to study the document and produce a white paper within two weeks.
In October, the Ogun State former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Akingbolahan Adeniran, said the state’s #EndSARS report has been sent to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for reviews and further action.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: Panel investigated 310 petitions in Anambra – Official

“We have submitted along with other governors to the office of the Vice President,” Mr Adeniran said.

“The idea of the panel came after discussions with the Vice President, who encouraged states to set up panels to look into it. The panel will do its report and there will be a white paper.”

“Regarding how the compensation is to be paid, I think they are trying to resolve which fraction is to be paid by the federal government and which fraction is to be paid by state government, after which the report will be made public. It is difficult to make predictions about when that will be done. We are pushing internally to make it happen.”

Contacted on Friday, Waheed Odusile, the Commissioner for Information in Ogun State, said he could not confirm any further development.

“I can’t confirm if there is any other development from what the former attorney general told you until I get to the office on Monday,” he said.

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