Judicial panel finds Nigerian Army guilty of massacre at Lekki Toll Gate during EndSARS protest

Vincent Ufuoma 

These findings were contained in a report submitted by the panel to the Lagos State Government on Monday.

According to the report, which The ICIR sawthe panel noted that nine protesters were confirmed dead while four others were presumed dead.

The report listed 48 names as casualties of the Lekki incident of October 20, 2020.

Among the 48 casualties listed, 24 sustained gunshot injuries, while soldiers and police assaulted 15 others.

The panel also noted that 96 other corpses were presented by a Forensic Pathologist of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, John Obafunwa.

It noted that testimonies of victims, eyewitnesses and independent experts employed to examine the footage taken during the unfortunate incident lend credence that the Army shot live bullets at protesters at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, resulting in deaths and severe gunshot injuries.

The panel also found that the shooting of the protesters by the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, was unwarranted, excessive, provocative and unjustifiable in the circumstances of the state of the protests, which was peaceful and orderly.

The panel also found that the conduct of the Nigerian Army was exacerbated by its refusal to allow ambulances to 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 also found that the Nigerian Police Force operatives deployed to the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of the incident and the morning of the 21st of October, 2020, 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 Lagos Concession Company (LCC) was accused of refusing to turn over some valuable and vital information requested by the panel and the forensic engaged by the panel.

According to the report, the LCC manipulated the incomplete CCTV video footage of the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of the 20th of October 2020, which it tendered before the panel.

It also found an attempt to cover up the incident of the 20th of October by the cleaning of the Lekki Toll Gate and the failure to preserve the scene ahead of potential investigations.

Contrary to claims by Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the panel found out the Army was brought in on the request and permission of the state government.

These findings are also an indictment on Muhammadu Buhari’s government that has continued to deny the killings despite extensive and credible media coverage of the incident from within and outside the country.

The controversial Nigerian Minister of information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has always maintained that the incident did not happen.

He has always described the shootings and killings as the first massacre in the world without dead bodies.

The minister has used every available forum, including an engagement with handpicked media houses in the United States, to further his lies and the position of the government he serves on the killings.

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