“The protest at Lekki Toll Gate according to eyewitnesses that testified and from the video footages submitted by witnesses and LCC was very peaceful on all the days including the 20th of October, 2020 until the arrival of men of the Nigerian Army” (LASG JPI REPORT OF THE LEKKI INCIDENT INVESTIGATION OF 20TH OCTOBER 2020, P: 283).
The #ENDSARS protests went worldwide, prominent artists and people participated across the Republic of Nigeria. The October protests became known and the police brutality from Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was well-known. Also, the way the authorities addressed it and this is why the Report released was so important. As well, as the Nigerian 81 Division called at alleged “massacre” in their statement on the 27th October 2021. However, this report will dismiss that…
The first devastating blow to the army:
“The Panel finds that although the Army gave copious evidence of general commotion, violence and mayhem in other locations in Lagos State other than Lekki Toll Gate, there is no justification behind the deployment of its soldiers and officers to Lekki Toll Gate in particular, when there was no violence reported there instead of the other critical areas (for example in places like Orile, Mushin etc), which indeed escalated the violence. The deployment of the Army to Lekki Toll Gate on 20/10/2020, in the absence of any reported violence, was totally unwarranted” (LASG JPI REPORT OF THE LEKKI INCIDENT INVESTIGATION OF 20TH OCTOBER 2020, P: 283).
“The evidence of Reddington Hospital and Grandville Hospital established the fact that not less than 20 persons who claimed to be protesters were treated for wounds consistent with gunshot injuries. It is therefore improbable that the army only used blank ammunitions at the Toll Gate on the day of the incident as claimed. There were many injured and deaths” (LASG JPI REPORT OF THE LEKKI INCIDENT INVESTIGATION OF 20TH OCTOBER 2020, P: 287).
“The testimony and report of Professor John Obafunwa, a Forensic Pathologist of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, showed that three (3) corpses were deposited at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba Hospital, all from the Lekki Toll Gate and the autopsy conducted thereon revealed death from bleeding caused by penetrating objects or rifled weapon” (…) “However, the Panel finds that the fact of lack of identity of some of the other 96 corpses on the list supplied by Professor Obafunwa would not obliterate the fact that some of them could have come from the Lekki Toll Gate Incident of October 20, 2020 or that some other unidentified corpses may have been removed by their families or the military, as claimed by the EndSARS protesters, far and beyond the list tendered by Professor Obafunwa” (…) “The Panel also finds that most of the 96 corpses for which autopsies were conducted by Professor Obafunwa remain unidentified but they were labelled with EndSARS, apparently lending credence to the case of the EndSARS protesters that the shootings by security agencies resulted in mass deaths within the State” (LASG JPI REPORT OF THE LEKKI INCIDENT INVESTIGATION OF 20TH OCTOBER 2020, P: 288).
“The panel finds most alarming and concerning the testimonies of the ACP Oludotun Odubona who appeared on behalf of the CP and that of CSP Raji Ganiyu, the DPO of Maroko Police Station that no investigation was carried out in respect of the incident of 20th October 2020, because there was no basis for such investigation and no complaints were lodged with the Nigerian Police Force by victims or families of victims. This amounts to a dereliction of duty” (LASG JPI REPORT OF THE LEKKI INCIDENT INVESTIGATION OF 20TH OCTOBER 2020, P: 293-294).
“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” (LASG JPI REPORT OF THE LEKKI INCIDENT INVESTIGATION OF 20TH OCTOBER 2020, P: 294).
“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. 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 in and presumed dead. Miss 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” (LASG JPI REPORT OF THE LEKKI INCIDENT INVESTIGATION OF 20TH OCTOBER 2020, P: 295).
This reports is a horrific read, but the reports and reporting in the days surrounding it only proved the fact. The army and the police did make a massacre at the Lekki Toll Bridge and this report also proves to show that the authorities tried to cover-up the evidence. Therefore, we don’t know the full extent or the amounts of victims. That’s an deliberate act of the state.
The massacre should have consequences for the ones in-charge of the police and army. They killed civilians singing and carrying the Nigerian flag while protesting. They we’re unarmed and the authorities did aim to kill. We don’t know the amount or the final numbers. However, every single life should be accounted for and these citizens deserves their justice. Their families and loved-ones deserves to know what really happened and the ones doing the killing should answer for their crimes.
The army and the ones in authorities who ordered this should answer for it. The soldiers and officers participating in it should also face prosecution. The state didn’t honour their citizens and instead served them injustice. The citizens who was harmed, scared, injured and killed deserves to see justice filled. This is not only memorials and yearly anniversaries, but see the men who did it face time and get sentenced. The leaders should bow out in disgrace and not serve. As they are no different than mobsters and criminals. There is no difference between them and cartel leaders who defends the massacres.
We know Buhari and his government will not do anything about SARS. He will just prolong the agony and in-act in concern to this. That is why he should act upon this. As this massacre happened on his watch and it was the citizens he was supposed to protect that died that day last year. Peace.