As 2021 prepares to take a bow, several incidents dominated the headlines in Lagos. Some of them, such as the #EndSARS reports and the attendant white papers, elicited talking points nationwide and even beyond the shores of the country. Incidents like road crashes on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and police extrajudicial killings were as predictable as the months of the year.
Below are some of the events that got people talking in 2021.
1. #EndSARS Panel Report
This is perhaps the most controversial event of Year 2021 from Lagos State. Mixed reactions trailed the report submitted by the Lagos judicial panel of inquiry set up to investigate petitions on police brutality and the Lekki toll gate “massacre” of October 20, 2020.
On November 15, 2021, the panel submitted two reports to the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu – police brutality cases and Lekki investigation.
Following the submission, the governor set up a four-member committee to come up with a white paper on the recommendations of the panel. Moyosore Onigbanjo, the state attorney-general chaired the committee.
When the much-awaited white paper was released, it ripped apart the report of the Lekki toll gate incident and it became a topical issue in the country. In the 24-page document, the state government said that out of the 32 recommendations made by the panel, it accepted 11, rejected one, and accepted six with modifications.
2. Ikoyi Registry
Towards the end of the year, the social media space was thrown into panic when a newspaper reported that a federal court in the state had declared illegal marriages conducted at the Ikoyi Marriage Registry.
The news, which went viral, however, turned out to be false. The judge only restrained the federal ministry of interior from contracting, celebrating, and registering marriages under the Marriage Act, “except for marriages conducted in the Marriage Registries of Ikoyi, Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
The judge also restrained the ministry from further granting or issuing marriage certificates under the Marriage Act, “except for marriages conducted in the Marriage Registries of Ikoyi, Lagos, and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
3. Dowen College
The circumstances surrounding the death of 12-year-old Sylvester Oromoni came to light in November. And it went viral on social media. The deceased’s cousin, Perrison Oromoni, who broke the news, narrated how he died and went as far as calling out the names of his alleged killers.
The death of the 12-year-old shook not only the state but the country. Popular and influential persons waded into the heated public discourse and even President Muhammdu Buhari and lawmakers had to remind the police of their duty.
According to the deceased father, his son, a secondary school student at Dowen College in Lekki reported being sick and had to be brought back from school for treatment.
“His mouth was swollen, he complained about severe pains in his stomach, back, head, all parts of his body,” his father said.
However, the school claimed he sustained the injury while playing football. Meanwhile, the police have arrested three, in connection to his death.
4. Ojodu Tragedy
Another sad event in the state as the 2021 rounds off was the death of students from the Bab Fafunwa Millennium School (formerly the Ojodu Grammar School) when a truck rammed into them at closing hours. Many other students sustained injuries and were hospitalized.
Although witnesses put the number of casualty figures at 13, the authorities named two children – Adedoyin Adebayo and Akpolebi Israel – as the deceased. The former was an only child of her parents.
5. The Badagry Eight
Similarly, life suddenly took an ugly turn for some parents in Badagry after they discovered that their children had died in a parked car on Adelayo Street in the Jah-Micheal area.
The eight children, who were between the ages of four and six were found dead by a parent who was looking for her ward. Afusat Isiaka, a mother of four, lost three children in the incident.
The vehicle reportedly has a child lock feature and could only be opened from outside.
6. Yoruba Nation Rally
The Oyelekes were thrown into sudden mourning when a stray bullet allegedly fired by the police led to the death of their 24-year-old daughter, Jumoke.
The lady was in her employer’s shop when the police, in an attempt to disperse protesters during the Yoruba nation rally at Ojota on July 3, chased some of them to where the shop was. She ran when she saw the protesters running in her direction but she was hit with a bullet and died immediately.
Shortly after the incident, the police denied involvement in her death, they said they never fire a “single live bullet,” but the deceased’s autopsy report confirmed that she died from a bullet wound.
It’s five months after the incident and a coroner’s inquest has been set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding her untimely death.
7. Extra-judicial killing of a teenager by the police
Just like Ms Oyeleke, a teenager and admission seeker, Monsurat Ojuade’s life was cut short when the police attached to the state CID at Yaba during a raid around 10 pm in September shot into her residence in the Surulere area of the state and she got hit.
This time, the police admitted to having caused her untimely departure but they claimed it was a “stray bullet.” However, the family has insisted it was a premeditated murder and tagged it “execution styled murder.”
A criminal proceeding is ongoing at the Yaba court but it has encountered delays. A coroner’s inquest is also ongoing at the Ebutte-Mette magistrate court, the family has continued to attend the two sittings religiously with the hope that their daughter would get justice even in death.
8. Fani-Kayode’s alleged medical forgery
Not new to a lawsuit, former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode was arraigned at the Ikeja high court for allegedly forging his medical report to evade trial. He, however, pleaded not guilty to the 12 counts which include procuring execution of documents by pretenses, use of false documents, fabricating evidence, and use of fabricated evidence.
9. Omicron and COVID-19 vaccines
As the governor of the epicentre of COVID-19, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said that there has been a steady rise in the Omicron variant of the virus in the state.
There have been concerns that existing COVID-19 vaccines and treatment could be less effective against the latest variant.
“Between Tuesday 30, November 2021, that I made my address and now, we have seen a significant rise in cases associated with the Omicron variant of this pandemic,” he said in a statement.
The governor who had earlier announced the beginning of a fourth wave did not announce the number of the cases associated with the Omicron variant but the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said six cases of the omicron variant have been detected in the country as of December 7.
10. Lagos-Ibadan expressway crashes
By the end of May 2021, at least 23 people had died and 24 injured in accidents on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. At a Federal Executive Council meeting in June, Babatunde Fashola, the works and housing minister, raised alarm over the spate of accidents on the expressway (He also mentioned the Abuja-Kano and Abuja-Lafia expressways).
As a result, a presidential committee, named the National Road Safety Advisory Committee, was inaugurated to restore sanity on federal highways.
Between June and December, many more people died on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
By the end of 2021, at least 86 deaths were recorded and while 109 suffered different degrees of injuries on the expressway.
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