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Fashola explains decision to appeal Al-Mustapha's acquittal

By The Citizen


The Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, Saturday, broke silence on the state's decision to appeal the ruling that acquitted the former Chief Security Officer under the late General Sani Abacha's government, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, saying the it places the highest premium on the sanctity of human life, fair play and justice.

Fashola spoke during the commemoration of his 2,300 days in office at the Lagos Television Ground.

He justified the state's move, saying the government acted on agitations by the people.

'The first report is in respect of the verdict of acquittal of Major Al-Mustapha for charges of conspiracy and murder by the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, which has generated some mixed reactions.

'Because our constitution permits further appeal to the Supreme Court, and because we place the highest premium on every human life and because the families of the victims deserve every right to agitate the matter to the final court, just as the accused would have been entitled, your government has appealed on behalf of the people to the Supreme Court,' he said.

In a reaction to one of the questions asked him, Fashola bemoaned how the police allegedly denied River State governor, Rotimi Amaechi access to the Rivers State government lodge, describing the action as lacking in common sense.

According to him, 'Even the lowliest citizen cannot be prevented from access to his house. If such a citizen is denied access to his house, it will be a breach of fundamental human rights to movement.'

Fashola said that the better leaders and citizens understand workings of the law, the more progress the country will make, disclosing that the Lagos State government has recorded legal victories in recent times.

The state filed 20 different petitions at the Census Tribunal to challenge figures in 20 Local Governments.

Fourteen petitions were successful with the tribunal making various findings that included orders for recounts.

'From these findings, it seems fair to conclude that the census returns were manipulated against Lagosians in an act of grave injustice, to say the least.

'No nation that wants to prosper and solve human challenges should ever play politics with data collection projects, such as population census. You cannot manage what you cannot measure,' said Fashola.

On the administration's commitment to improving efficiency in public transportation, Fashola said the government's programmes in the sector are yielding good results.

He added that the commissioning of the seven-kilometer Ibeshe road has not only boosted business in the area but has also reduced journey time from about 45 minutes to 10.