Bisi ABASS

 

The United States has said it looks forward to the response of the Lagos State Government and Federal Government over the conclusion of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the “Lekki Massacre.”

The panel had submitted its report in a brief ceremony at the Lagos State Government House, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos on Monday.

The report confirmed nine shot dead at Lekki Toll Gate on 20 October, 2020 and declared another four missing and presumably dead, making a total of 13.

“At the Lekki Toll Gate, officers of the Nigerian Army shot, injured and killed unarmed, helpless and defenceless 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,” said the report.

The panel report, which will unsettle government at both the Federal and state levels, found that both the Nigerian Army and police shot and killed unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate.

It also accused the operators of the Lekki TollGate for tampering with evidence and both the army and police engaging in cleaning the scene of bloodstains.

“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 the 20th October, 2020 and between that night and the morning of the 21st of October, 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 Lekki Concession Company (LCC), operators of the toll gate, was found to have “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 the 20th of October 2020, which it tendered before the Panel.”

Reacting to the report, the US, through a statement issued by the US Mission Nigeria on social media, dropped a message for Lagos State and the Nigerian government to alert them that the world is waiting and watching out for the next actions.

The statement reads:

“The United States welcomes the conclusion of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry with the transmission of its final report.

“We look forward to the Lagos State government’s response as part of a process that represents an important mechanism of accountability regarding the #EndSARS protests and the events that took place near the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.

“Those events led to serious allegations against some members of the security forces, and we look forward to the Lagos State and federal governments taking suitable measures to address those alleged abuses as well as the grievances of the victims and their families.”

Meanwhile, Obianuju Catherine Udeh aka DJ Switch, who was a key witness to the massacre of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate, last year has also reacted to the final report submitted by the Lagos State Judicial Panel.

In her reaction on Twitter Monday night, Obianuju wrote: “Shattered so many lives, tried to destroy mine.

“Only for what you desperately tried to hide to be made public… by you!

“The truth needs no defense! #EndSARS”.

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