#EndSARS: Lai Mohammed demystified as Lagos Inquiry Panel reveals protesters were ‘massacred’ at Lekki Toll Gate shooting

November 16, 2021
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There are indications that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, may have been demystified after the Lagos State #EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution on Police Brutality and Other Related Abuses in its report submitted to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday revealed that the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police killed many unarmed peaceful #EndSARS protesters who were waving the Nigerian flag in a manner that can be described as massacre in the Lekki Toll Gate shooting of October 20, 2020.

The minister had led the vanguard of denials of the killings in the Lekki Toll Gate shooting by security operatives on October 20, 2020, during the #EndSARS protest in Lagos, as in other parts of the country.

The minister had challenged anyone to present evidence of the Lekki Toll Gate killings. Lai Mohammed further chastised CNN over the report of the US media organization.

The Lagos panel has exposed that there were killings in the Lekki Toll Gate shooting and that the scene of the shooting was cleaned up to cover up evidence before proper investigations were conducted.

The 309-page report revealed that the Army and Police undermined their rules of engagement during their intervention on the civil protest.

A section of the executive summary of the report highlighted inter alia: “The panel in its report found that on October 20, 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 October 20, 2020, and between that night and the morning of October 21, 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 (Lekki Concession Company) 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 October 20, 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 October 20. The panel found that there was an attempt to cover up the Incident of October 20, by the cleaning of the Lekki Toll Gate and the failure to preserve the scene ahead of potential investigations.”

Members of the panel include Doris Okuwobi, a retired judge, Chairperson; Ebun Adegboruwa SAN, Patience Udoh, Taiwo Lakanu, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police; Segun Awosanya, human rights activist, Olutoyin Odusanya, Director, Lagos Citizens Mediation Center, and Temitope Majekodunmi, youth representative.

Governor Sanwo-Olu has appointed a four-member committee led by the Attorney-General of Lagos State and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, to prepare a White Paper on the report.

Other three members of the committee include the Commissioner for Youths and Social Development, Segun Dawodu; Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructures, Mrs. Aramide Adeyooye; and Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office, Mrs. Tolani Oshodi.

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