Abiodun OBA

Lagos State Government’s White Paper released by the state government on Tuesday night, has rejected the #EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry (JPI) report of massacre at the Lekki Tollgate, saying the report is full of inconsistencies and contradictions.

The Judicial Panel Report had claimed that nine people were shot dead by the army and police, with several others injured at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20, 2020.

The report also said an additional four people missing were presumed dead.

But the government has rejected the report of the killings, saying that the report contradicted the evidence of the Pathologist, Prof. John Obafunwa.

Obafunwa had testified that only three of the bodies that he conducted post mortem examination on were from Lekki. Out of them, only one had gunshot injury.

The White Paper said: “The JPI’s finding of nine deaths is therefore irreconcilable with evidence of Prof. Obafunwa that only one person died of gunshot wounds at 7:43pm at Lekki Tollgate on 21st October, 2020.

“Having held that, there was no evidence before it to the contrary of what Prof. Obafunwa said. The question is, where did JPI then get its finding of nine deaths?”

According to the White Paper, “This finding of nine (9) deaths at LTG on 20th October 2020 is even more baffling because apart from listing out their names in tabular form at pages 297-298, the JPI offered no explanation regarding circumstances of their death. The names simply sprang up at pages 297-298 of the report without any justification.

“It is quite astonishing that in the list of eleven (11) deaths set out at pages 297-298, two (2) of the names appeared twice (Kolade Salami and Folorunsho Olabisi as Nos. 37 and 38).

“Furthermore, the person listed as No. 46 Nathaniel Solomon who testified as a witness and petitioned the JPI in respect of his brother who he alleged died at Lekki Tollgate (LTG), was himself listed as having died at LTG on 20th October 2020.

“Remarkably, Nathaniel Solomon’s deceased brother (Abuta Solomon) was then also listed as No 2 on the list of persons who died at LTG.

“The only victim of gunshot injury from LTG was picked up at 7:43pm, on 21 October, 2020 after the curfew commenced (see page 99) Furthermore, there was no shred of evidence regarding who shot him.

“Another substantial inconsistency in the JPI Report was the award of compensation to only one (1) out of the alleged nine (9), listed as “deceased” which showed that the JPI itself had doubts as to the death of eight (8) other allegedly deceased persons on its list.”

The White Paper added: “On the basis of the above fundamental inconsistencies in the findings of the JPI regarding the nine deaths at LTG and particularly because findings are clearly and manifestly not supported by evidence before the JPI as attested to by the JPI itself, when it said there was no contrary evidence to that of Prof. Obafunwa that only one person died at LTG of gunshot wounds at LTG on October 20, 2020, the State Government is therefore unable to accept the finding that nine people died of gunshot wounds at LTG on 20th October, 2020.

“It also follows that the irresistible conclusion to be drawn from the JPI’s acceptance of Prof Obafunwa’s testimony that only one (1) person died of gunshot wounds at LTG on 21st October, 2020 is that there was no massacre at LTG, contextual or otherwise.

“The findings of the JPI that nine died at LTG on 20th October 2020 from gunshots fired by the Military are based on assumptions and speculations.

“The inconsistencies and contradictions in the entire JPI Report concerning the number of persons who died at LTG on 20th October, 2020 and their cause of death rendered the JPI’s findings and  conclusions therefrom as totally unreliable and therefore unacceptable.

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