An Assistant Commissioner of Police, Oludotun Odubona, on Tuesday, told the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the investigation of the Lekki shooting incident that the police do not shoot to kill people but to maim them.
Mr Odubona, who represented Hakeem Odumosu, the Lagos State police commissioner, was before the panel to continue his evidence on the role played by the police during the October last year #EndSARS protests.
At his first appearance before the panel last week, Mr Odubona explained why many police divisions were burnt and several officers killed during the protests.
“The highest level of gladiated force is to make use of live ammunition and that cannot be done unless there is superior directive,” Mr Odubona said on Tuesday while being questioned by a lawyer.
“Even when such directives are given, the police don’t shoot to kill, they shoot to maim.”
Mr Odubona said there was a breach of police armoury in different police divisions in the state.
He tendered videos and pictures of police divisions that were attacked during the #EndSARS protest, which led to the loss of arms and ammunition.
Mr Odubona said he could not disclose the number of police rifles and ammunition that were carted away by hoodlums.
Referring to one of the hoodlums in a video tendered, the ACP said he carted away a box of ammunition that had a twin container and each contained 1,500 rounds of live ammunition.
While being cross-examined by Abiodun Owonikoko, a counsel representing the Lagos state government, Mr Odubona said when there is an event for the police to shoot, they do so “to maim and not to kill.”
Mr Owonikoko had asked the ACP to identify the empty shells tendered by one of the #EndSARS protesters, which they claimed to have been picked up at the Lekki toll gate.
Sarah Ibrahim, one of the #EndSARS protesters testifying at the panel, said the shells were picked up at the Lekki toll gate after the army opened fire on protesters.
She also said police officers from Maroko Division, led by the DPO, who was dressed in mufti, came after the army had left and also opened fire on the protesters.
Responding to the question by Mr Owonikoko, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the police representative said they are “empty shells of 7.62mm ammunition.”
“Confirm that when police had to engage some of these criminals and had to use live bullets, cartridges that are released can be picked up from places of incident,” Mr Owonikoko asked.
Mr Odubona responded in the affirmative, saying that cartridges can be picked up by people from any location, even when they are used by the wrong persons.
“Cartridges can be picked from anywhere, no matter who fired it. They will still remain empty shells,” Mr Odubona said.
He further said the police were not deployed to the Lekki toll gate on 20 October,2020 and had no cause to be in the axis.
Speaking on the activity of the police to stop Oriental Hotel at Lekki from being burnt down, Mr Odubona said some police officers were stationed at the hotel to protect lives and property around.
Mr Owonikoko also asked whether there was a report by police officers within the jurisdiction warranting the use of live ammunition on the night of 20 October .
Mr Odubona said there was no such report.
The assistant police commissioner also disclosed that the police are still searching for weapons that were stolen from the police armoury during the #EndSARS protest.
Rotimi Seriki, the counsel to the Lekki Concession Company (LCC), asked if the police received any complaint from any member of the public with regards to the Lekki shooting incident.
“There was no such report of anyone coming to the station to report that he was shot or witnessed the shooting of another,” he said.
Other lawyers at the panel could not cross-examine the police representative on the premise that they didn’t see the police evidence (videos and pictures), prior to the Tuesday sitting.
Doris Okuwobi, a retired judge, heading the panel, adjourned the matter till 17 September for further hearing.
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