The Lagos State Government has that it has not given up on the trial of Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, Former Chief Security Officer, CSO to the late dictator, General Sani Abacha.
Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye made the revelation while speaking at the annual ministerial press briefing in Lagos. He said the state government is determined to follow up the case up to the Supreme Court.
According to him, the process of appeal had been instituted at the Appeal Court, stressing that the state hopes to move to the Supreme Court from there adding that the state is taking necessary steps to ensure diligent prosecution of the matter.
Ipaye who is confident that the state would carry the day said the case failed at the Appeal Court basically on technical ground.
“What is happening is that we have filed an appeal and the rules require us to file a notice of appeal; which we did. And we did it at the court where the case was delivered. And it has a time limit. If the court of appeal is unable to hear ones application within that time, one has to make the application at the Supreme Court.
“There is a window within which the court of appeal must hear the application and it is because we couldn’t get it heard within that period and we had to get out of the court of appeal by withdrawing our application and refilling it at the Supreme Court. At the moment, we are awaiting the hearing date from the Supreme Court. What we have done is not to withdraw the appeal. The appeal is still subsistence.”
On failure of the state government to domesticate the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, he said it is not true that Lagos is blocking the Act.
“We don’t have any reasons not to want freedom of information. As of today, Lagos State is one of the most free, if not the most free government around. We are also the most pressured in terms of request for information. All the NGOs and freedom fighters are here. They come to us for various reasons and they would get information that are not classified.
“We are not opposed to information being released where that information is not secrete or classified. The FOI Act is an enactment of the Federal Government. It is not applicable to the state. It is a concurrent matter. It means that it is a matter over which the National Assembly has its own jurisdiction and the constitution said public records of the federation. It is the same constitution which says public records of the state shall be regulated by the state House of Assembly, and it makes perfect sense. We have FOI bill in the state assembly, we have to await its passage, when the law is passed; we would be bound by it.”