Lawyer Criticizes Governor Sanwo-Olu Over Planned Peace Walk Amid Omicron COVID-19 Variant

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Chief ‘Kunle Uthman, a legal practitioner and Member of the Body of Benchers in Lagos, has asked the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to shun his planned Peace Walk scheduled for December.

In a recent broadcast, Sanwo-Olu announced that he would lead a Walk For Peace this month.

He had listed persons invited to accompany him on this Walk For Peace to include Nigerian rapper, Folarin Falana, popularly known as Falz and popular comedian, Debo Adedayo, aka Mr Macaroni, both of whom have declined the invitation.

He had also invited civil society organisations and several institutions to join him.

Meanwhile, students of the Lagos State University (LASU) have promised to join the Walk in large numbers. Other organisations under the control of the state government have assured that they will also participate in large numbers.

Uthman, however, described the planned Peace Walk as a bad idea, especially with the emergence of a new variant of COVID-19 known as Omicron.

In an open letter to Sanwo-Olu on Sunday titled ‘Re: Peace Walk And COVID-19 Pandemic Communal Spread’, the lawyer questioned the move by asking: “What is the purpose, intention and reason for a Government (anywhere) to gather in one place tens of thousands of people at this time of COVID-19 pandemic?”

He added, “As an addendum, how does His Excellency intend to manage these large number of divergent groups and persons?

“His Excellency should recognise as a fact that there is a new variant of COVID-19 in the world, no decipherable cure and travel bans are being imposed globally. The British Government have imposed travel restrictions on Nigerians travelling to the United Kingdom.

“What is the macro benefits, if any, to be derived from a Walk that will lead to communal spread of COVID-19 in a State where most of the residents have not been vaccinated?

“As it were, His Excellency should cancel the Peace Walk, because it cannot be justified and there are no reasons whatsoever for this Peace Walk stated for this month of festivities or at any other time, because it would serve no useful benefits to anybody and will further exacerbate the situation and make us a ‘laughing stock’ in the comity of nations. This Walk, as contemplated is suicidal and any dire consequences resultant thereat, the Lagos State Government will be held accountable and indeed responsible.”

“A Stitch In Time Saves Nine.

“Be assured of my highest regards and consideration at all times. May the “Centre of Excellence” henceforth be peaceful and liveable.”

The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS-related Abuses and Other Matters had on November 15, 2021, submitted its report after which Sanwo-Olu set up a White Paper committee.

The panel found that peaceful protesters were shot and killed by the Nigerian Army and police without provocation at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, the epicentre of the #EndSARS protest last year.

But the state government later released its White Paper on the report by the #EndSARS panel that probed the Lekki toll gate incident of October 20, 2020.

In the White Paper, Sanwo-Olu’s government faulted the panel’s report that nine persons were killed at the toll gate when soldiers stormed the protest ground to disperse the protesters.

According to the government, “The only victims of gunshot injury from Lekki Toll Gate was picked at 7:43 pm on 21st of October, 2020 after curfew commenced. Furthermore, there was no shred of evidence regarding who shot him.”