A legal practitioner, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN has accused the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, of tampering with a possible key evidence in investigations into last week’s controversial shootings at the Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos State.
He also expressed concern that the state government conducted a tour of the plaza while investigations by the judicial panel it set up on the EndSARS crisis is on.
During the tour on Sunday, Fashola reportedly discovered a hidden camera at the Toll Plaza and handed it over to the Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The minister, who led a Federal Government delegation to commiserate with the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu over the loss of lives and destruction of public and private assets in the violence that rocked the state last week, noted that words were not enough to describe the level of destruction wreaked by the arsonists.
Some of those in the Federal Government’s entourage include Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Minister for Mines and Industries, Olamilekan Adegbite; Minister for Trade and Investments, Niyi Adebayo, Minister of State for Health Olorunnibe Mamora; Minister for Sport and Youth Development, Mr. Sunday Dare; and Minister of State for Niger Delta, Sen. Omotayo Alasoadura.
Also, on the entourage for the inspection tour in the company of the press were some South-West Governors such as Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), and Sanwo-Olu.
The former Lagos State Governor said the camera must have been planted by some subversive elements prior to the reported shootings for ulterior motives.
While handing over the camera to Sanwo-Olu after picking it up with the aid of a handkerchief, Fashola said, “I think this will help with the ongoing investigations into the shootings at the Lekki Toll Gate. It requires forensic analysis and could be used in the investigations to unravel the mystery surrounding the shootings at the Toll Gate, I believe.”
However, some Nigerians have expressed reservations over the discovery. They believe it’s just an act put up by government officials to cover up for the shooting incident at the Lekki Tollgate.
Adegboruwa, a member of the judicial panel, condemned the minister’s action, expressing concern that Fashola might have thereby tampered with evidence.
The Senior Advocate accused minister of usurping the powers of the judicial panel of inquiry, headed by Justice Doris Okuwobi, set up by the Lagos State Government to look into allegations of police brutality in the state.
His words: “On Sunday, October 25, 2020, it was widely publicised that Ministers and Governors of the South-West visited the Governor of Lagos State on a sympathy tour of structures affected by the wanton looting and destruction that took place last week. In the course of their visit, they were led to the Lekki Toll Plaza, to assess the situation thereat. It was at the same Lekki Toll Plaza that the incident of alleged shooting of EndSARS protesters was said to have taken place. And based on public outcry, the Governor of Lagos State added the Lekki Toll Plaza incident to the terms of reference of the Judicial Panel that was set up.
“Since the Panel has been vested with jurisdiction over the Lekki Toll Plaza, I verily believe that it is illegal for anyone else to conduct any visit to the said Lekki Toll Plaza in the absence of and without the authority and consent of the Panel.
“It was reported that in the course of the visit, the former governor of Lagos State and the Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, discovered a hidden camera, which he took. This is a clear case of illegally tampering with exhibits that may become useful to the Panel in the course of its assignment.
“I appeal to the Governor of Lagos State to allow the Panel the full autonomy and independence that was promised at the time of inauguration. It is contempt of the Panel for anyone to usurp the powers of the Panel in the way that has been reported. In this regard, the Panel will not shy away from summoning anyone who is alleged to be involved in any contemptuous act that may obstruct the course of justice.
“I call on all Nigerians to come up with their complaints before the Panel for proper ventilation, as it begins its sitting today (Monday).