“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.”
This were the exact words of the Justice Doris Okuwobi Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and other matters on page 294, handed down to Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday.
The 309-page report detailed
Entitled: Report Of Lekki Incident Investigation Of 20th October 2020, the panel detailed how at least 48 protesters were either shot dead, injured with bullets wounds or assaulted by soldiers who stormed the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020.
Sanwo-Olu, has however, raised a four-man committee to comb the report and promised to issue a white paper on the findings in the next two weeks after getting a copy from the members, which also recommended that another body be constituted to handle other matters not yet dealt with.
But in the report, released by Enough is Enough Nigeria, a civil advocacy group, stated on page 295 of the report, how it was alleged and corroborated that the soldiers had their vans parked at the Lekki Toll Gate and removed as many bodies and corpses of the fallen protesters which they took away with their vans.
In its recommendations, the panel emphasised that all those involved in the attack on youths should be made to face disciplinary measures
It added: “The Panel recommends that the Lekki Toll Plaza be made a memorial site for ENDSARS Protest: By renaming to ENDSARS TOLLGATE.The panel recommends that October 20th of every year, the day is made a ‘Toll Free Day’ at the Lekki Toll Gate as long as the tollgate exists
“That Oct 20th of every year be made EndSARS day Nationally for the remembrance of our falling youth. That for the purpose of restitution, healing and reconciliation the federal Government needs to publicly apologize to the youth for abruptly undermining the protest with their state actors.
“The Government should do all it can to bridge the gap of distrust with the Youth. A monument memorializing the lives lost and those injured at the Lekki Toll Gate with the names inscribed on the Monument.”
The panel report negates the consistent claim by the Federal Government of Nigeria that there was no massacre at the toll gate, a focal gathering point during last year’s nationwide demonstration against extrajudicial killings and police brutality by operatives of the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force.
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, had staunchly maintained that the Lekki incident was a “massacre without bodies” and had threatened to sue Cable News Network and another international media house that claimed otherwise.