Home Lagos “There was an attempt to cover up Lekki shooting”- Lagos judicial panel

“There was an attempt to cover up Lekki shooting”- Lagos judicial panel

Lekki Shooting- LagosPost.ng
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Following the massacre of 20th October 2020, a Lagos judicial panel was set up to investigate the happenings of that night. This has been on for more than a year.

However, the 8-member judicial panel of inquiry into the Lekki shooting of October 20, 2020, in its report submitted to Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday, November 15, 2021, writes that:

There was an attempt to cover up the incident of the 20th of October by the cleaning of the Lekki tollgate and the failure to preserve the scene ahead of the potential investigations.”

In its 306-page report, the panel also concluded that “the atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless and unresisting protesters, while sitting on the floor and waiving their Nigerian flags, while singing the National Anthem, can be equated to a massacre in context.”

The panel also said officers deployed to the tollgate “shot at, assaulted, and battered unarmed protesters.”

According to the panel’s report, police officers tried to cover up their actions by picking up bullets.

The panel found that the Nigerian Police Force deployed its officers to the Lekki tollgate on the night of the 20th October 2020 and between that night and the morning of the 21st of October, 2020, its officers shot at, assaulted, and battered unarmed protesters, which led to injuries and deaths.

The police officers also tried to cover up their actions by picking up bullets,” the report reads.

It was also stated by the panel that the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) refused to provide vital evidence that could have aided its investigation.

LCC was also accused of manipulating the CCTV footage presented to the panel during its sitting.

The report reads as follows: “The panel found that LCC hampered the panel’s investigation by refusing to turn over some useful and vital information/evidence as requested by the panel and the forensic expert engaged by the panel, even where such information and evidence was by the company’s admission, available.

“It manipulated the incomplete CCTV Video footage of the Lekki tollgate on the night of the 20th of October 2020, which it tendered before the panel.”

It was recommended by the panel that officers of the army and police who participated in the “shooting, injuring and killing of unarmed protestors” should be sanctioned.

According to the report: “The denial of ambulances by the soldiers, which could have assisted in the prompt and effective treatment of injured protesters, was cruel and inhumane and it contributed immensely to the large number of deaths and casualties on the part of the protesters, especially those from the Lekki tollgate.

“The panel finds the cases of death or injured protesters as credible and uncontroverted.

“The panel finds that most EndSARS protesters and victims of the Lekki tollgate incident of October 20, 2020 were largely unwilling to be identified in public for fear of persecution or harassment by the security agencies and the government generally.

“Immediately after the protest, there was palpable fear that the Army and Police were visiting hospitals to ‘finish up’ the protesters to the extent that some of them could not return home immediately. Some of the protesters received threats and some were being trailed by unknown persons.”

The panel also recommended that a public apology be tendered to #EndSARS protesters who were killed, injured, and traumatized by the incident.

“The panel also found that the conduct of the Nigerian Army was exacerbated by its refusal to allow ambulances render medical assistance to victims who required such assistance. The Army was also found not to have adhered to its own Rules of Engagement.

“The Panel found that the Nigerian Police Force deployed its officers to the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of the 20th October 2020 and between that night and the morning of the 21st of October, 2020, its officers shot at, assaulted, and battered unarmed protesters, which led to injuries and deaths.”

The panel also asked the government to do all it can to bridge the gap of distrust with the youth.

The panel recommends “that all those arrested in the course of the protest should be granted bail, prosecuted for any offence that may be alleged against them or where no prima facie evidence of culpability is disclosed upon due investigation, they should be released forthwith.”

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