By Unini Chioma
*Says Twitter Has Agreed To All FG’s Conditions
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), on Sunday, dismissed the #EndSARS panel set up by the Lagos State Government and the report it presented to the state government recently.
Keyamo said it was out of the jurisdiction of the panel to investigate the activities of Federal Government institutions and officials such as the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Army.
The minister, while appearing on Sunday Politics, a current affairs programme on Channels Television which our correspondent monitored from Abuja on Sunday, however, said he was not speaking for the Federal Government.
The panel had stated in its report that at least nine persons were killed on the night soldiers and policemen stormed the Lekki tollgate to disperse #EndSARS protesters, describing the incident as a “massacre in context.”
However, Keyamo was asked on Sunday why the President, Muhammadu Buhari, called for constitution of panels across the states to investigate cases of human rights abuses while the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, would later dismiss the report by the Lagos panel.
He said, “I will not answer this question as a sitting minister. I will answer this question as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria – a member of the Inner Bar, and so I am entitled to my opinion. This is not the Federal Government’s position. From me, that panel was an illegal panel. It was totally illegal.
“All lawyers who are listening to me should go back and read the Tribunals of Enquiry Act of Lagos State. It says that the governor will have the powers to inquire into the conduct of any person – underline any person – and chieftaincy matters and any other matter that will promote the good of the public.
“However, ‘any person’ there was defined in Section 21 to mean public officers of the state. It is defined to mean somebody within the public service of Lagos State or of the local government as the case may be.
“Then, the phrase was used at the end of Section 1 that says ‘any matter’…that they can inquire into any matter. People now think that to inquire into any matter, it means that you can just be at large.
“However, if you look at Section 21 again, it says that it has to be within the legislative competence of Lagos State. In other words, it is only people over whom the Lagos State has control that they can inquire into their conduct. If you don’t have control over me, you cannot inquire into my conduct.
“Policemen, the Armed Forces, military; they are not under or officers of Lagos State, they are officers of the Federal Government. By virtue of the Constitution, it is only the Federal Government that can control the conduct of policemen and the military. Lagos State cannot be in control; they cannot legislate too, regarding police and military matters; they are on the Exclusive Legislative List.”
Keyamo, also said that the social media platform, Twitter, has agreed to all the conditions laid out by the Federal Government regarding its operations in Nigeria.
Keyamo who is also a member of a committee, set up to review the operations of the microblogging platform since its ban in the country, said the committee has made significant progress so far.
“The reason why the president took that step is to recalibrate our relationship with Twitter and not to drive them away from our country,” the minister said on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics.
“That recalibration, we have started it and the President graciously added me to the committee.
“We also set up a technical committee to interface with Twitter and come up with a lot of conditions for them to fulfill for us to lift the suspension.
“It was Twitter that reached out to the Federal Government to say they want to know what and what they can do to straighten up the relationship with the Federal Government and so, we have gone far but I may not, at this forum, let out a lot but we gave them a lot of conditions and they have agreed to all the conditions,”.