as Farotimi alleges threat to life
By Gabriel Olawale, with agency reports
LAGOS—Lagos State Judicial Panel of Restitution and Inquiry, set up to investigate cases of police brutality, especially involving officers of the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, yesterday, summoned the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammad Adamu.
The IGP was summoned over a case involving one Adewale Adewuyi, a petitioner, whose 26 acres of farmland were allegedly seized by police since 2013.
This came on a day a rights activist and a lawyer, Dele Farotimi, alleged threat to his life over his position on the reopening of Lekki toll gate.
Lagos panel summons IGP
Debo Adeleke, the petitioner’s lawyer, alleged that the police invaded the farmland located at Age-Mowo near Badagry on December 17, 2013, and destroyed it.
The development, the counsel said, affected the health status of his client.
Adeleke, who asked the panel to summon the IGP, said his client – brought on a stretcher – could not feed himself after the incident.
The lawyer also said a Federal High Court had in 2017 ordered the police to release the farmland and pay damages for physical assault.
The petitioner’s lawyer said: “That order is needed, although I’m not supposed to say this is a fact-finding panel, we need to summon the IGP, so that he can tell the commissioner of police to release this land to us. They are not using the land, it is just there.
“Everybody fears the Lagos state judicial panel on restitution. We will be grateful if my lord will issue the order.”
On his part, police counsel, Cyril Ejiofor, requested two weeks to get the issue resolved.
But Chairperson of the panel, Doris Okuwobi, ordered that the parties mentioned in the petition should be served the summons and adjourned till March 30.
Farotimi, activist, alleges threat to life
Meanwhile, Mr. Farotimi, who is a member of the Radical Agenda Movement in the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, said that he has already filed a petition to the DSS and Nigeria Police over alleged plans to assassinate him by some people, who are not comfortable with his position.
Farotimi, who addressed newsmen in Lagos, said: “I am already aware that I was offending a lot of powerful people due to my position as regards the EndSars protest, the killings at the Lekki toll gate and the planned reopening of the toll gate.
“But on Tuesday last week, I was threatened by some state actors that my life is not safe so long as I am in Lagos. I was told to watch my back because I can be killed at any time if I don’t back down.
“Somebody, who is also privileged to certain conversations at a certain level which I won’t want to disclose, now revealed the calculated plan to assassinate me. I won’t reveal the name of my sources and I know it is not one of those empty threats because the threat was specific, names were mentioned and I know one of those mentioned at a personal level because he is someone I have known for years.
“I have written a petition to security agencies and also requested protection from the Nigeria state. I am not a drug baron, I don’t cheat people, if anything is to happen to me look no further than the person I mentioned in my petition. The identity I have already made clear to my associates and family.”
Farotimi, however, made it clear that his position on the EndSars protests was not for personal gains, but an obligation he owed future generations.
He said: “I am speaking for the voiceless, my activism did not start today, the threat to my life did not start today, but this particular one is coming as a function of my role in questioning the rationale behind the rush to reopen the toll gate.”
“I am against the existence of that toll gate from day one, but the events of 20th of October hardened my position because I couldn’t understand how so many people might have been killed and nobody is interested in establishing how many people died, who is responsible, how come this happened in democracy.
“Those are the questions I asked since the incident happened, what it has bathed is that person who benefits from the status quote, who are unhappy that not all of us have kept quiet and buy into their agenda of an illusion that nothing happen.
We are suddenly becoming targets but this one is a specific threat. I was blessed to have someone warn me because I was already under surveillance, the shooter has already been identified, and it is just a function of opportunity presenting itself.
“When I become the prefix to this, the first thing I did was to go underground, at least to an extent, but let’s be clear, I have never in all my years ever stood up and claim I was been threatened, not that I’m not unaware what I do threatened other people but this is the first time when the threat will have been specific and names have been mention.”