The Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution on Lekki Toll Gate Shooting Incident and Cases of Police Brutality as well as human rights violations in its 309-page report submitted on Monday, indicted the Nigerian Army and the Police of complicity in the death of protesters at the Lekki Toll gate in October 2020.
The Nigerian Army and the police disregarded their rules of engagement during the protest according to the report seen by Investogist. The panel said that, ”The manner of assault and killing could in context be described as a massacre.”
According to the report, the panel found that “That the Nigerian Army was invited for intervention in the State and was deployed to Lekki Toll Gate on the 20th of October 2020. At the Lekki Toll Gate, officers of the Nigerian Army shot, injured and killed unarmed helpless and defenseless protesters, without provocation or justification, while they were waving the Nigerian Flag and singing the National Anthem and the manner of assault and killing could in context be described as a massacre.
“The panel also found that the conduct of the Nigerian Army was exacerbated by its refusal to allow ambulances render medical assistance to victims who required such assistance. The Army was also found not to have adhered to its own Rules of Engagement.
“The panel found that the Nigerian Police Force deployed its officers to the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of October 20, 2020, and between that night and the morning of October 21, 2020, its officer shot at, assaulted and battered unarmed protesters, which led to injuries and deaths. The police officers also tried to cover up their actions by picking up bullets.
“The panel found that LCC (Lekki Concession Company) hampered the panel’s investigation by refusing to turn over some useful and vital information/evidence as requested by the Panel and the forensic expert engaged by the panel, even where such information and evidence was by the company’s admission, available. It manipulated the incomplete CCTV video footage of the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of October 20, 2020, which it tendered before the panel.
“The panel found that there was an invitation of the Nigerian Army to Lagos State made by the Lagos State Government through the governor before the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army deployed its soldiers to the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of October 20.
“The panel found that there was an attempt to cover up the Incident of October 20, by the cleaning of the Lekki Toll Gate and the failure to preserve the scene ahead of potential investigations.”
The Panel made a total of 32 recommendations based on its key findings, which included but not limited to:
“Holistic Police Reforms covering welfare, training and proper equipping of Policemen and their working environment;
“Sanctioning of the officers of the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police Force respectively who participated in shooting, injuring and killing of unarmed protestors at the Lekki Toll Gate on the 20 and 21st of October 2020;
“Development of more robust engagement between the Youth and the Government;
“Setting up of a Standing Committee/Tribunal to deal with cases of Violation of Human Rights by security agencies and a trust fund to settle compensation awarded by such committee/tribunal;
“A public apology to ENDSARS protesters who were killed, injured and traumatized by the Incident of the 20th of October 2020;
“The memorialization of the Lekki Toll Gate and the 20th of October going forward.
The panel led by Doris Okuwobi, a retired judge submitted the report to Governor Bababjide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State for further action and implementations. The governor promised to treat the report appropriately.
Click here to download the full report.
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.