Sanwo-Olu Rejects the Resolution of the EndSARS Panel on the Lekki Toll Gate Shooting
Touchaheart Nigeria reports that the Lagos State Government has rejected the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters’ resolution that no fewer than nine people died when armed soldiers rushed the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020, to disperse #EndSARS demonstrations.
The state government’s view, which was revealed in a 41-page White Paper released on Tuesday night, contradicted the conclusions of the Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel that nine people were murdered by gunshots at the toll gate.
The JPI had suggested that a monument be placed at the Lekki toll gate to commemorate those who died or were injured.
Countering the recommendation, the state government said,
“This recommendation is not acceptable to Lagos State Government for the following reasons: The finding of the JPI at page 288 paragraph M is that “The evidence of the pathologist Prof Obafunwa that only 3 of the bodies that they conducted post mortem examination on were from Lekki and only one had gunshot injury and this was not debunked.
“We deem it credible as the contrary was not presented before the panel.”. The JPI’s finding of nine deaths is therefore irreconcilable with the evidence of Prof. Obafunwa that only one person died of gunshot wounds at 7:43pm at LTG on October 21, 2020.
“Having held that there was no evidence before it to the contrary of what Prof Obafunwa said, the question is where did the JPI then get its finding of nine deaths? This finding of nine deaths at LTG on 20th October 2020 is even more baffling because apart from listing out their names in tabular form at pages 297-298, the JPI offered no explanation regarding the circumstances of their death.
“It is quite astonishing that in the list of eleven deaths set out at pages 297-298, two of the names appeared twice (Kolade Salami and Folorunsho Olabisi as Nos. 37 and 38).
“Furthermore, the person listed as No. 46 Nathaniel Solomon who testified as a witness and petitioned the JPI in respect of his brother who he alleged died at LTG was himself listed as having died at LTG on 20th October 2020. Remarkably, Nathaniel Solomon’s deceased brother (Abuta Solomon) was then also listed as No. 2 on the list of persons who died at LTG.
“The inconsistencies and contradictions in the entire JPI Report concerning the number of persons who died at LTG on 20 October 2020 and their cause of death rendered the JPI’s findings conclusions thereon as totally unreliable and therefore unacceptable,” the White Paper read in part.
The state government, on the other hand, said it would forward the #EndSARS panel’s recommendation that disciplinary measures be imposed on military officers deployed to disperse protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate to the Federal Government, the National Economic Council, and the Nigerian Army to the Federal Government, the National Economic Council, and the Nigerian Army.
According to the JPI report, the panel recommended disciplinary charges against Lt. Col. S. O. Bello and Major General Godwin Umelo for refusing to honor the panel’s summons in order to sabotage the inquiry.
The paper read,
“The Lagos State Government notes and it will forward this recommendation to the Federal Government, National Economic Council and the Nigerian Army for their consideration.
“All officers (excluding Major General Omata) and men of the Nigerian Army that were deployed to the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020 should be made to face appropriate disciplinary action, stripped of their status, and dismissed as they are not fit and proper to serve in any public or security service of the nation.
“The Nigerian Army is an organisation that has its own disciplinary procedures and processes as set down by law, over which Lagos State government has no control. Nevertheless, Lagos State Government will forward this recommendation to appropriate authorities for their consideration and action.”
The Lagos State Government also praised all medical professionals and hospitals, especially Reddington Hospital, for treating protesters who were injured. It disagreed, however, that on October 20, 2020, the hospitals treated patients of LTG gunshot wounds.
The panel called the Lekki tollgate incident a massacre in context, alleging that security forces killed at least nine people when they stormed the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020, to disperse stubborn teenagers protesting police brutality and illegal killings.
The panel named 48 people as casualties, including 22 protestors who were shot, and 15 others who were beaten by military and police.
It listed the names of the deceased as Victor Sunday Ibanga, Abuta Solomon, Jide, Olalekan Abideen Ashafa, Olamilekan Ajasa, Kolade Salami, Folorunsho Olabisi, Kenechukwu Ugoh and Nathaniel Solomon. The report also listed Abiodun Adesanya, Ifeanyi Nicholas Eji, Tola and Wisdom as “presumed dead.”
It stated, “The atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless and unresisting protesters, while sitting on the floor and waving their Nigerian flags and while singing the National Anthem can be equated to a ‘massacre’ in context.”