At least 46 unarmed protesters were either shot dead, injured with bullets, or assaulted by security forces at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020, the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and other matters has said.
In its 309-page report – ‘Report Of Lekki Incident Investigation Of 20th October 2020’, presented to the Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, the panel said soldiers shot live ammunition at armless protesters intending to kill and maim them.
The nine deceased persons mentioned in the report are Victor Ibanga, Abuta Solomon, Jide, Olalekan Ashafa, Olamilekan Ajasa, Kolade Salami, Folorunsho Olabisi, Kenechukwu Ugoh, Nathaniel Solomon.
The report described Abiodun Adesanya, Ifeanyi Eji, Tola, and Wisdom as “missing presumed dead.” It stated that 22 sustained gunshot injuries and 11 were assaulted by military officers.
The report said that officers and soldiers of 65 Batallion of the Nigerian Army, “led by Lt. Col Bello, left their base with blank and live ammunitions to confront and disperse youths holding only their national flags, with live bullets,” the report partly reads.
“The soldiers actually shot blank and live bullets directly and pointedly into the midst of the protesters at the Lekki Tollgate, with the deliberate intention to assault, maim and kill.”
“The soldiers turned back ambulances that were invited to render first aid and assistance to the wounded protesters.”
The Doris Okuwobi-led panel in the report said 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.”
The report said three trucks with brushes underneath were brought to the Lekki tollgate the following morning after the incident to clean up the scene of bloodstains and other evidence.
“There was abundant evidence before the Panel that the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) indicated in its Twitter handle that it had effectively cleaned up the Lekki Toll Gate scene immediately after the incident of October 20, 2020,” the report stated.
“The denial of ambulances by the soldiers, which could have assisted in the prompt and effective treatment of injured protesters, was cruel and inhuman and it contributed immensely to the large number of deaths and casualties on the part of the protesters, especially those from the Lekki Toll Gate.
“The Panel finds the cases of death or injured protesters as credible and uncontroverted.”
The Panel also found that most of the witnesses were unwilling to speak concerning the incident due to fear of persecution or harassment by security agencies. Some of the protesters received threats and some were being trailed by unknown persons, the report said.
“Immediately after the protest, there was palpable fear that the Army and Police were visiting hospitals to ‘finish up’ the protesters to the extent that some of them could not return home immediately.”
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