• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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UPDATED: Lekki shooting: LCC tenders footage, says camera stopped recording at 8pm

Lekki shooting: LCC tenders footage, says camera stopped recording at 8pm

The Lekki Concession Company (LCC), operator of the Lekki Tollgate, has finally submitted the footage of the surveillance camera on the night of October 20, when soldiers allegedly opened fire on #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate, in Lagos.

The LCC at its first appearance before the Panel of Inquiry and Restitution set up by the Lagos State government to look into the brutality of the citizens by the now dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigeria Police, had declined tendering the video footage, insisting it could only do so when its lawyer was present at the panel.

Abayomi Omomuwasan, managing director, LCC, at the company’s second appearance at the panel yesterday, finally submitted a hard drive containing the footage.

Omomuwasan, however, said the surveillance camera stopped recording at about 8:00pm, saying, “I can confirm that inside here (hard drive) is the video footage that our surveillance camera was able to record on October 20.”

Read Also: Lekki shootings: Can Buhari handle a real people’s revolt?

The managing director also tendered press releases in which the LCC denied the company bribed the police to disrupt the protests.

The panel headed by retired Justice Doris Okuwobi admitted the hard drive evidence containing the footage from the tollgate.

Meanwhile, a trader, Ndukwe Ekekwe, narrated to the panel how he was made a paraplegic by SARS operatives.

The wheelchair-bound Ekekwe told the nine-man panel that he was thrown from a two-storey building at the Alaba International Market by officers of the squad. Accompanied by his aged mother to the sitting, Ekekwe, who was not represented by a counsel, recounted to the panel in Pidgin English the events that led to his paralysis.

The petitioner said at 2.00pm on February 16, 2018, he was arrested at the Alaba International Market without charge by SARS officers. He said fellow traders asked the policemen to show their identity cards before Ekekwe could be handcuffed.

“They immediately removed their SARS shirts and began to shoot and everyone ran away. I asked them what my crime was and they said the arrest was an order from the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).

“I was handcuffed in one hand because they noticed I wasn’t a troublemaker. On our way, they stopped at Igando and came down from the car and were talking. I used my other hand to reach my phone to try to call my mother, but the Inspector saw me, approached me and asked who gave me the guts to make a phone call and he took the phone, stepped on it and destroyed it.

“He stabbed me on my wrist and back, and I was hit on the head with the butt of a gun and beaten. They collected the N58,000 that was for my shop,” he said.

Ekekwe said he was taken to the SARS office at Ikeja, Lagos, and at midnight he was stripped naked, taken to a torture chamber where he was beaten.

He said other SARS officers, who were torturing other individuals, also joined their colleagues in torturing him and the men even threatened to shoot me.

“I was left there till evening and I didn’t know my crime and till now I don’t know my crime. They kept saying that intelligence report is on me. At night of that day (February 17, 2018), I was taken to my three shops where I sell phone accessories.

“The SARS officers using hammers broke into my shop and took my goods in their vehicles and sold some of it to people in the market. They took away my goods worth N15 million. I began shouting to attract attention and the commander told them to take me to the top of the two-storey plaza and I was thrown down from the building.

“The SARS officer that threw me from that building is Hamza Haruna. They took me back to their office in my injured state,” he said.

Ekekwe said when his condition became dire, he was taken from the SARS office to the Police Hospital in Ikeja. He said was eventually referred to two other hospitals for treatment of his injury.

The trader said he used to be the breadwinner of his family, but suffered a spinal injury from being thrown from the storey building, which led to his paralysis.

The petitioner said the police did not pay for his medical expenses and that he had to sell his house and landed property to offset the expenses.

The chairman of the panel, Okuwobi, adjourned proceedings to November 13, for the testimony of Ekekwe’s mother.