THE concept of White Paper in the official treatment of reports authored by judicial commissions of inquiry is not known to the Nigerian law, a leading lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, disclosed on Thursday.
(SAN) went legal to stress why the report of the panel that investigated the Lekki tollgate shooting of October 20, 2020, cannot be tampered with, by both the federal and Lagos State governments.
His verdict would be a blow to the ongoing administrative process being undertaken by the state government on the panel report, as the committee set up by the governor has a few more days to submit a White Paper on the report.
In a speech delivered when some leaders of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) visited him in Lagos, the advocate also said Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is constitutionally-barred from rejecting the report, noting that the court of law is the only option available to those indicted.
Apart from claiming White Paper is unknown to law, he added that members of the White Paper committee set up by the governor are also not legally competent to alter the report as submitted by the panel.
“We are not unaware of the purported rejection of the report of the commission by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, and the pressure on the White Paper committee by some anti-democratic forces to advise the governor to jettison the findings and recommendations of the commission.
“Such critics are certainly not aware that there is no provision for the issuance of a White Paper under the law. In other words, a White Paper is a mere administrative medium for conveying the decision or position of the government on the report of an administrative or judicial inquiry.
“Therefore, since the White Paper committee is not known to the law, its members are not competent to edit, modify, alter, edit or reject the report of the commission. More so, that the members of White Paper committee did not have the opportunity of taking evidence from the witnesses who had testified before the commission.”