👤 EXCLUSIVE: Adenike Lucas and Danjuma Aliyu, DENISAURUS News
Abdul Aminu Mahmud, a popular lawyer known as the Great Oracle, has praised young people in Nigeria for their courage, while calling on the 36 state governors constituting judicial panels into police brutality to give victims enough time to submit their petitions.
Speaking exclusively to DENISAURUS News, Barrister Mahmud a senior counsel at Ephesis Law Firm, and a pioneer of the End SARS Movement, a revolutionary network group, set up to fight against police brutality in Nigeria, noted that some panels were giving victims “just under 14 days for them to submit their petition.”
The Great Oracle as many of his 163.5k followers on twitter refer to him, has worked tirelessly in providing legal assistant to victims of harassment from a police unit known as the Special Anti-robbery Squad, SARS, that was established to curb robbery.
However, instead of arresting robbers, some SARS officers have gone on to intimidate and extort money from law abiding citizens.
A search on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and DENISAURUS News was able to find in large quantities documentary evidences from Nigerians who have been brutalised by SARS, which was set up in 1992.
One of the victims, a musician described his encounter with SARS on Twitter, saying they “harassed me and didn’t see shit on me…”
SARS has also been accused of extrajudicial killing. The recent shooting of a young man in Ogbomosho, Oyo State, sparked a protest across the nation, eventually leading to a pronouncement of the disbandment of the unit from President Muhammadu Buhari.
READ ALSO : #ENDSARS : An Open Letter To @ProfOsinbajo That’s Going Viral
Following the widespread protest in the country, the National Economic Council, the second highest constitutional organ in the country, with the 36 Governors along with the FCT Minister agreed to look into the demands of the protestors.
In a telephone interview to DENISAURUS News, the lawyer who has provided pro-bono legal assistant to many victims of police brutality, noted that “one of the demands was the constitution of judicial panel of enquiry to investigate the activities of the now disbanded SARS.”
As of 24 October, it is only some governor such as Dapo Abiodun, the governor of Ogun state plus his counterparts from Lagos, Plateau, Anambra and 10 other governors, who have “set up Judicial Panels of enquiry to investigate crimes committed by rogue police officers in their states.”
DENISAURUS News understands that for places like Plateau State, the deadline for submission of petition is the 10th of November.
The Great Oracle faults the little time given to victims to submit their petition. “If we do an arithmetic calculation of the day it is, we are talking just under 12 days – which is just under 2 weeks.”
For Anambra, which The Great Oracle described as the “ground zero of SARS activities came out with a statement last night, and they are saying that the deadline for submission of petition will be 3rd of November, which effectively means that victims of SARS have just 8 days to prepare and submit their petitions.”
He stated that it is was not enough time for the victims to get in their petition in.
“It is unheard. It sinks with the fundamental complains that this youths have been making. The man who himself, as a student fought against the military, is accusing the Nigerian government of failing to listen to the youths.
He stated that “Except Lagos that has come out to tell Nigerians that the governor has constituted the panel under Section 5 of the Tribunal of Enquiry Act of Lagos state, no governor has told us under which law they are constituting this panels.”
Barrister Mahmud explained that failure to state the constitutional provisions of the panel, it could be easily challenged in court.
“If we don’t know the law, it is easy for lawyers to challenge the legality of this judicial panels of enquiry.”
He pleaded that the governors of state take actions to help matters. “I want to take this opportunity in this interview to call on governors to constitute this panels under your commission enquiry laws of your states, so that they become legal and whatever recommendation that comes from this panel will become legal representation that lawyers can go to court to enforce.”
He also said that the governors should impress on the judicial panel to “grant victims extended days” to submit petition, as the National Economic Council had “agreed that the time limit for this panel to sit is six month.”
Having worked over night, Barrister Mahmud left DENISAURUS News with a word of hope for the protestors. He said that though the protest was not political, some youths will want to take up political position in the country.
He said:” I salute the Nigerian youths, they should be victorious in the gains, but they should not become triumphant. The struggle has just began. What they have done, it has demystified Buhari. They have shown Buhari for who he is. That he is not a democrat. He is an autocrat.
The protest we have seen for two weeks were never political protest. Their demands were never political, but if anything, a lot of them as realised it is important, they join the political order, and it would be better for the country.”