December 3, 2021

Lagos EndSARS Panel Says Army and Police Killed, Injured Protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, Recommend Punishments

The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters (Lagos EndSARS Panel) has reported the Lekki Tollgate shootings of October 20, 2020 as a massacre.

The panel indicted soldiers and implicated Nigeria’s security agents in the killing and forced disappearances of harmless and unarmed youths protesting at Lekki Tollgate on October 20, 2020.

The Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel made the revelation in a 309-page report submitted to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Monday.

According to the report, at least 48 protesters were either shot dead.

Also, page 294 of the report read: “The atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless and unresisting protesters, while sitting on the floor and waving their Nigerian flags, while singing the National Anthem can be equated to a ‘massacre’ in context.”

In page 295: “It was alleged and corroborated that the soldiers had their vans parked at the Lekki Toll Gate and removed as many bodies and corpses of the fallen protesters which they took away with their vans.”

According to the report, “the  Nigerian  Army  was  invited  for  intervention  in  the  State  and  was  deployed  to Lekki  Toll  Gate  on  the  20th  of  October  2020.

“At  the  Lekki  Toll  Gate,  officers  of  the Nigerian  Army  shot,  injured  and  killed  unarmed  helpless  and  defenseless  protesters, without  provocation  or  justification,  while  they  were  waving  the  Nigerian  Flag  and singing  the  National  Anthem  and  the  manner  of  assault  and  killing  could,  in  context, be  described  as  a  massacre.

“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  officer  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  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  Toll  Gate    on  the  night  of  the  20th  of  October  2020,  which it tendered  before  the  Panel.

“The  Panel  found  that  there  was  an  invitation  of  the  Nigerian  Army    to  Lagos  State made  by  the  Lagos  State  Government  through  the  Governor  before  the  hierarchy  of the  Nigerian  Army  deployed  its  soldiers  to  the  Lekki  Toll  Gate  on  the  night  of  the  20th of  October.

“The  Panel  found  that  there  was  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.

“Upon  the  above  key  findings  amongst  others,  the  Panel  made  a  total  of  32 Recommendations,  which  included  but  not  limited  to:

“Holistic  Police  Reforms  covering  welfare,  training  and  proper  equipping  of  Policemen and  their  working  environment;

“Sanctioning  of  the  officers    of  the  Nigerian  Army  and  the  Nigerian  Police  Force respectively  who  participated  in  shooting,  injuring  and  killing  of  unarmed  protestors at  the  Lekki  Toll  Gate  on  the  20  and  21st  of  October  2020;

“Development  of  more  robust  engagement  between  the  Youth  and  the  Government;

“Setting  up  of  a  Standing  Committee/Tribunal  to  deal  with  cases  of  Violation  of  Human Rights  by  security  agencies  and  a  trust  fund  to  settle  compensation  awarded  by  such committee/tribunal;

“A public  apology  to  ENDSARS  protesters  who  were  killed,  injured  and  traumatized  by the  Incident of the  20th  of October 2020;

“The  memorialization  of  the  Lekki  Toll  Gate  and  the  20th  of  October   going  forward.

“The  recognition  of  Hospitals  and  Medical  Doctors  who  played  heroic  roles  following the  Incident  of  the  Lekki  Toll  Gate  on  the  20th  of  October  2020  thereby  saving  lives and  minimizing  the  impact  of  the  injuries  suffered  by  the  victims,  most  of  which  were on  a  pro-bono  basis;

“The  Panel  recommended  various  sums  of  compensation  to  victims  of  the  Lekki  Toll Gate  Incident,  which  must  be  expeditious  in  order to  accelerate  the  healing  process.

“The Panel  recommended  that  any  data  that  may  have  been  generated  over  the  years on  the  impunity  of  the  Police  across  Nigeria  be  studied  and  deployed  as  early  warning signs  (EWS)  mechanism.”

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