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EndSARS: 103 persons died during protest — Lagos govt admits

ENDSARS protest: Donating companies may deal directly with victims

The Lagos State government has admitted that 103 persons died during the October 2020 EndSARS protests that erupted in the state and resulted in the destruction of multi-million-naira properties.

The state also confirmed plans to conduct a mass burial for the 103 dead bodies which it claimed were picked up from different parts of Lagos during the protest.

It denied, however, that the dead were from the Lekki Tollgate where soldiers invited in by the authorities to quell the protests allegedly shot at armless protesters, a development that escalated what had been a peaceful protest in the state.

The government admitted that Lagos State Environmental Health Unit (SEHMU) picked up bodies in the aftermath of #EndSARS violence and community clashes at Fagba, Ketu, Ikorodu, Orile, Ajegunle, Abule-Egba, Ikeja, Ojota, Ekoro, Ogba, Isolo and Ajah areas of Lagos State, including a jailbreak at Ikoyi Prison, amounting to 103 and would be given mass burial.

Read also: Senate passes bill to establish compensation fund for EndSARS victims

The government in a statement signed by Olusegun Ogboye, the permanent secretary in the state ministry of health, titled “Re: Mass burial of EndSARS victims (mischief-makers at work)”, said: “The attention of the Lagos State government has been drawn to some social media publications about a purported mass burial plan for casualties of the 2020 #EndSARS incident. Peddlers of the news are deliberately misinterpreting and sensationalising a letter from the Lagos State Government Public Procurement Agency titled: Letter of no objection – mass burial for the 103, the year 2020 EndSARS victims, to misinform the public, stir public sentiment and cause public disaffection against the Lagos State government.

 

“While the Lagos State government would not have dignified the mischievous elements peddling such news with a response, we consider it appropriate to set the records straight and draw the attention of well-meaning citizens to the antics of some unscrupulous elements who are hell bent on disrupting the peace and tranquility of Lagos with distorted news and half-truth about the PPA letter.

 

“It is public knowledge that the year 2020 #EndSARS crisis that snowballed into violence in many parts of Lagos recorded casualties in different areas of the state and not from the Lekki Tollgate as being inferred in the mischievous publications.

 

“For the records, the Lagos State Environmental Health Unit (SEHMU) picked up bodies in the aftermath of #EndSARS violence and community clashes at Fagba, Ketu, Ikorodu, Orile, Ajegunle, Abule-Egba, Ikeja, Ojota, Ekoro, Ogba, Isolo and Ajah areas of Lagos State, including a jailbreak at Ikoyi Prison.

 

“The 103 casualties mentioned in the document were from these incidents and not from Lekki Tollgate as being alleged. For the avoidance of doubt, nobody was retrieved from the Lekki Toll Gate incident. In the aftermath of the #EndSARS violence, the office of the chief coroner invited members of the public throughout public adverts and announcement who had lost loved ones or whose relatives had been declared missing between October 19 and 27, 2020 from various clashes as mentioned above, to contact the department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) to help with identification of these casualties deposited in state-owned morgues.”

The state government further said that relatives were to undergo DNA tests for identification purposes. It stated that nobody responded to claim any of the bodies.  However, after almost three years, the bodies remain unclaimed, adding to the congestion of the morgues.

 

“This spurred the need to decongest the morgues – a procedure that follows very careful medical and legal guidelines in the event that a relative may still turn up to claim a lost relative years after the incident. Decongestion of our public morgues is a periodic and regular exercise approved by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to free up space in mortuaries that have a large number of unclaimed bodies,” the PS said in the statement.