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#EndSARS: Lagos Panel Releases Damning Report, Says Army, Police Shot Live Bullets, Killed Protesters at Lekki Tollgate

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The Lagos State Judicial Panel on #EndSARS on Monday submitted its report to the Lagos State Government, in which stated, among other things, that the Nigerian Army and police fired live bullets at peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate last year, killing scores of people and injuring many others.

The Nigerian government and military authorities had consistently denied that anyone was killed in the incident, despite video evidence and overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The Lagos panel, has, however, confirmed the killings. It also stated that the “deliberate absence of officers of the Nigerian Army who were present at the Lekki Toll Gate and who were summoned by the Panel was a calculated attempt to conceal material evidence from the Panel.”

The panel also listed names of those killed and injured by security forces on the day of the Lekki Tollgate shooting, 20th October, 2020, while recommending that those involved be dismissed.

The panel was inaugurated on October 19, 2020, to look into complaints of citizens against human rights abuses by the police, but following the October 20 incident, the Terms of Reference of the Panel was expanded to cover it.

The Panel sat for well over one year and took testimonies of petitioners, witnesses, experts and lawyers.

The report stated, among other things, that “From the evidence of General A.I.Taiwo (Commander, 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Nigerian Army, Victoria Island, Lagos) on pages 6, 7, 21, 22, the Panel finds that both blank and live bullets were fired by the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, for the following reasons:

“Apart from the military men in uniform, the Army left its base with vehicles, rifles and guns, which contained both live and blank bullets. General Taiwo admitted at page 22 that the Army went to the Lekki Toll Gate with live ammunition.

“As of October 30, 2020, when the Panel visited the Lekki Toll Gate for its on the spot assessment, it was still able to recover two bullets shells which were duly analyzed by the forensic expert hired by the Panel, Sentinel, who is very familiar with weapons used by the Nigerian Army. These bullet shells were said to be the same as or similar to the ones normally used by the Nigerian Army and they were expended shells, meaning they were fired live at the Lekki Toll Gate.

“Petitioners and witnesses appeared before the Panel to give vivid accounts of shootings by the Army into the crowd of protesters. The Panel finds their testimonies credible being eyewitness accounts and would ascribe probative value to their testimony over that of General Taiwo who was not physically present at the Lekki Toll Gate.

“The Panel finds as credible, the case of the EndSARS protesters that soldiers shot directly at protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020 as confirmed by Lagos State Ballistic Expert, Willie-Harry on page 244 that some video evidence indicate “… instances where troops were seen to be re-arming their weapons before either discharging them to the air or purposely in the direction of the protesters …” Continue Reading

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