BusinessDay

Key points from the #EndSARS Lagos State panel of inquiry report

The Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution on the Lekki Toll Gate shooting incident and cases of police brutality as well as human rights violations set up by the Lagos State government submitted its report to Bababjide Sanwo-Olu, the state governor on November 15, 2021.

The panel made public its findings on the ugly incident of the #EndSARS protest that befall the state in 2020.

Key findings from the report show that there were 48 casualties of the shooting incident, out of which nine people were dead, four were presumed dead and 24 were injured.

Other findings of the #EndSARS judicial panel include; Lekki Tollgate incident was a massacre, the army shot at protesters on October 20, 2020, the police also shot at protesters that same night.

There was an attempt to cover up and clean the scene by the perpetrators. It was also discovered that the governor of Lagos State actually invited the army to the tollgate venue of the protest.

And that the LCC withheld and tampered with useful evidence of what transpired at the scene of the incident.

The soldiers were found to have parked their vans parked at the Lekki Tollgate and removed as many bodies and corpses of the fallen protesters which they took away with their vans.

One of the protesters who was shot and taken for dead, Olalekan Sanusi, who eventually escaped to narrate his ordeal and experience stated that 11 corpses were in the van, where he was placed and presumed dead.

Dabira Ayuku also corroborated the above by stating that she saw about 7 dead bodies placed in one of the military trucks at the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of 20th, October 2020.

Read also: #EndSARS Report: Evidence shows that we have been vindicated- Protesters

According to the Panel, the entire Police Force, as first responders, did not have adequate facilities, manpower, experience and training to prepare them for such civil and orderly protest as happened at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.

The protests began on or about the 8th of October, 2020, and climaxed with the incident of the alleged shooting of the protesters by soldiers and police at the Lekki Toll Gate in the evening of 20th October, 2020.

And that basically the protest was about police brutality, especially the various experiences of youths in the hands of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.

From the evidence of Serah Ibrahim, as well as Onileowo Legend, Dabiraoluwa Ayuku, and Kamsichukwu Ibe, who participated in the #EndSARS protests, as part of the organizers; the panel took their accounts of the protest as coming from that of eye-witnesses.

Evidence from the testimonies of all witnesses that appeared before the panel indicated that there were protests that emanated from opposition to alleged police brutality and perceived human rights violations and demand for police reforms.

The movement highlights the need for more young people to exercise their civil and political rights to speak out against injustice, irregularity in the systems of government and reforms in the police systems and a review of their emoluments to stem down this wave of corruption, illegal arrests and detention of the citizens by the police.

Similarly, the Panel finds that the protest had the objectives of communicating the grievances of the youths to the appropriate authorities, they had Nigerian flags and it was comprised of people from different tribes and religions, old and young.

The Panel finds that both the state and federal government were well informed about the protest and prominent officials visited the protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, including the Governor of Lagos State and other prominent politicians. Prominent stars and musicians were able to engage the police maturely to avoid any clash between the police and the protesters.

The panel also highlighted recommendations such as holistic police reforms covering welfare, training and proper equipping of policemen and their working environment and sanctioning of the officers of the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police Force respectively who participated in the shooting, injuring, and killing of unarmed protestors at the Lekki Toll Gate.

Others are; development of a 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 and tribunal and a public apology to #EndSARS protesters who were killed, injured and traumatized by the incident.

The panel is led by Doris Okuwobi, a retired judge, had the following members: Ebun Adegboruwa, Patience Udoh, both representing the Civil Society, Taiwo Lakanu, a retired deputy inspector general of Police, Segun Awosanya, human rights activist, Olutoyin Odusanya, director, Lagos Citizens Mediation Center, and Temitope Majekodunmi, a youth representative.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.