Nigeria: Raising New Voices – Raising New Voices Press Statement on #EndSARS Panel Report & Lagos State’s White Paper (06.12.2021)

A brief look into the Lekki Toll Gate Massacre Report

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).

Second:

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).

Third:

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).

Fourth:

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).

Fifth:

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).

Sixth:

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.

Nigeria: Austine Nwachukwu letter – “Resignation of my Membership of All Progressive Congress (APC) – (11.11.2021)

Nigeria: Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki – 20/10/2020: We Must Never Forget #EndSARS (20.10.2021)

Nigeria: Youth Alive Foundation – Press Statement on the Occasion of the One Year #ENDSARS Anniversary (20.10.2021)

Opinion: Buhari’s unnecessary war-cry

President Muhammadu Buhari is playing with fire. He is lightening up the sky and not only getting suspended from Twitter, but starting a discussion, which where everything can fall apart.

There are already strife and wounds which isn’t healed. There is already questions about Buhari intentions and his management. It is not like there been ceasing of Boko Haram and other people kidnapping civilians. Neither, has there been less violence and they haven’t shown any signs of control of the northern regions…

The President haven’t even been able to end SARS or create trust in the police units as is. This is culminating in his regress and lack of development since his election. His government haven’t aspired for greatness, neither has it tried to deliver. It is just more of status quo and let things go.

The General and army commander in-charge, the President and his whole cabinet is clearly inept and lack of proper skills to pull this off. If they did, it wouldn’t be this dire and the questions would remain as is. That is just the mere scandal of it all.

Buhari have had the time and ability to make a difference. However, it seems his been preoccupied with long medical treatments in London. Staying away for months in Abuja House and not returning to office. Neither has his party or appointed leaders stepped into his shadow.

Buhari have had years to stop the insecurity. Instead, it is happening and people are dying. There are people killed and lack of government response. The President is more preoccupied sending condolences to about foreign affairs than dealing what is happening in the North or everywhere else.

So, when Buhari talks of the civil war and the costs of it. It is not like he has silenced the guns. Neither has he stopped the insecurity or the value of life. If he did… he would have properly ended SARS and also stopped Boko Haram. However, they are both there violating people. It is not like the deceased can talk, but the results are clear. Buhari isn’t vindicating himself, but instead showing his arrogance.

President Buhari shouldn’t only represent the South, but the Northern Nigeria too. He should safeguard these people as well. They are left behind and seemingly forgotten. His inept and ignorant government comes clear.

The President and the government should know better. The talk of warfare and civil war is doing nobody any good. They are just opening old wounds and showing the disregarding spirit from the head of state. Buhari as a General should know the pain and suffering. His government should know this. But its hard for a man of his stature to be humble and take responsibility.

It is also easy for him to run away. As he has the opportunity to do so. He can use his party and other officials to defend his track-record and even his achievements. Even if people doesn’t really see it or even can feel it. Then it seems like a smokescreen and just another publicity stunt.

Buhari should consider his moves ahead. The manner of going behind barricades and saying they are ready for war. Will not do anything good. Neither to Biafra or anyone else. The Republic isn’t becoming better and neither is this respectful to Nigeria as a whole. It is more boosting of his ego, which seems fragile at this point.

When the APC and the government is saying they are ready for war today. Its really a sign of weakness. Instead of finding places of healing and the reasons for the insecurity. The state is planning to create a new civil war. That’s because this is whatever Buhari knows as a General. He clearly don’t know how to govern or be a unifying character. Since he rather spread fear and possible order a war. That is the tragedy here.

Today and yesterday, I am sure people missed the days when he was rumoured to be an android or be Jubril of Sudan. Those days was nice. Even the day he ordered the authorities to arrest a fella for naming a dog “Buhari”. Well, those was days of peace and mediocrity. Not a moment to worry about war and acting hostile to others. Peace.

Nigeria: Office of the Speaker – We Must Improve on Dignity, Well-Being of Our Police Force – Gbajabiamila (21.04.2021)

Nigeria: Indigenous People of Biafra – They Have finally Brought the War Upon the Biafran People (18.02.2021)

Nigeria: South West Governors’ Forum – Press Statement (13.0.2021)

Nigeria: Federal Ministry of Information & Culture – Perpetration of Violence under the Guise of ENDSARS: Never Again – FG (11.02.2021)

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