Osun: Falana Petitions Human Right Commission Over Assault
Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has said his client, Lanre Suraj was “brutally assaulted by a gang of snipers without any justification” while monitoring the election in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
He gave the National Human Rights Commission a 14-day ultimatum to investigate an alleged violation of the rights of an accredited observer, Mr. Lanre Suraj, by some masked snipers during the Osun State governorship election.
Falana, in a petition dated August 12, threatened to sue the commission should it fail to investigate the the violation of the rights of his client during the August 9 election.
His petition, addressed to the Executive Secretary of the commission, was entitled, ‘Request for investigation of the abuse of our client’s fundamental rights by snipers during the Osun State governorship election held on August 9, 2014′.
Falana said Suraj, the National Coordinator of a non-governmental organisation, the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, was accredited as an election observer by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
He said his client was however unable to identify any of the “snipers” who allegedly assaulted his client because they were masked.
According to Falana, Suraj also witnessed how the snipers allegedly violated other innocent persons’ rights on the day of the election, adding that his request for the recording of the “criminal activities of the official terrorists” was rejected by the police.
The petition read, “We are counsel for Mr. Lanre Suraj, the National Co-ordinator of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, a non-governmental organisation on whose behalf and instructions we write this letter.
“Our client was duly accredited by the Independent National Electrical Commission to monitor the Osun State gubernatorial election which held on Saturday, August 9, 2014.
“In the course of monitoring the said election at Osogbo, Osun state, our client was brutally assaulted by a gang of snipers without any justification.
“As the snipers were allowed to wear masks our client was unable to identify any of them. Our client also witnessed the harassment and intimidation of other innocent people by the snipers. However, our client’s request to the police to record the criminal activities of the official terrorists was turned down!
“Having confirmed that the masked persons are not members of any of the security agencies in the country we hereby request the National Human Rights Commission to investigate their involvement in the Osun State governorship election and the brutalisation of our client by the extra-legal security outfit.
“More so, that the Federal Government had vehemently denied knowledge of the existence of snipers in the country.
“Take notice that if you fail or refuse to accede to our request within fourteen days of the receipt of this letter we shall not hesitate to apply to the Federal High Court for a writ of mandamus to compel the Commission to carry out its statutory duty in the circumstance.”