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Saturday, 28 November 2020

Lekki shootings: What has happened so far before the Lagos State Judiciary Committee

Members of the panel of inquiry visited the Lekki toll gate as part of their investigations


Shootings in Nigeria during last month's protests against police brutality in Lekki, Lagos State, Nigeria's largest commercial hub, have drawn international condemnation.

But after the issue of whether or not the fire had been opened, there was some agreement between the protesters and security forces on the exact nature of the incident that night.

It is hoped that the commission of inquiry set up to investigate the Lekki incidents and the issue of police abuse will shed more light, but that is not the case yet.

Our representatives have been at the Lagos protest site and this is what has happened so far:

Who asked the soldiers to go to Lekki toll gate?

The presence of soldiers during the peaceful protests has caused a great deal of controversy but it is still unclear who ordered it.

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has declared a curfew on October 20 to quell unrest that has erupted in parts of the state during protests against the Sars. do.

Motorists now have access to the Lekki toll gate

A few hours after the curfew was announced, soldiers arrived at the #EndSars protesters camp for days.

Regarding the presence of the military, Mr Sanwo-Olu told Arise TV on October 22 that he had no right to recruit soldiers at the protest site as the state governor.

The Army, however, told the commission of inquiry on November 14 that they had gone there as a result of the governor's invitation.

Brigadier-General Ahmed Taiwo said the governor had asked the military to intervene because he had failed the police.

At a rally on November 21, a military representative outside the meeting said their job was not to quell the protests but to "ensure peace on Eti-Osa Road". protesters gather.The governor has not yet responded to the military.

Did the army use a lethal bullet ?

There were allegations that the army and police shot at protesters and other people nearby. Amnesty International says 12 people have been killed.

At the beginning of the committee session, the military denied killing anyone and insisted that the troops there were firing in the air, where the protesters had gathered.

DJ Switch, who sheds light on the incident, has already fled Nigeria

On November 21, Brig-Gen Taiwo told the committee that the military had used deadly bullets to disperse "thugs" who had taken refuge in the protests to provoke unrest.

Responding to questions, an army representative said some vigilantes threw stones at soldiers patrolling near the Oriental Hotel, near the Lekki toll gate, which resulted in one soldier being injured.

If we were attacked with stones, the only thing we could do was shoot

Does the BBC report believe what the Nigerian military says?

Separately, as well as a press release, the military presented a BBC report of Lekki's shootings to confirm their position that they fired shots in the air and not at protesters.

The BBC's Pidgin correspondent Damilola Banjo, in her report, describes what she only saw at the rally where she is reporting live.

Banjo, who left about 25 minutes after the troops arrived, said: "Before we left, they [the soldiers] were firing in the air and as we were trying to find some protection, I saw a young man who seemed to be she is struggling to breathe. "

"I think the only thing that has to do with him is that he is scared of the military shooting. Of course, the situation is dirty."

"The shooting continued for about 20 minutes and we had to lie on our chests and slip away because of the seriousness of the danger. My editor then approached one of the soldiers to describe us as journalists before they let us pass safely, ”Damilola said.

Who turned off the CCTV camera ?

Another paradox surrounding Lekki's shooting was the lack of surveillance cameras on the night of the incident.

Speaking at the investigation committee meeting, the Managing Director of Lekki Concession, which manages Lekki toll gate, Abayomi Omomuwasan, said communication problems caused the camera to stop working at 20:00, which is eight o'clock at night.

Responding to allegations that the company had deliberately turned off the lights at the protest site, Mr Omomuwasan said that due to the curfew imposed by the state government, the LCC had withdrawn its employees and this had prevented them from doing so. replace the generator when the fire breaks out.

How many people died?

Responding to allegations that the military had shot several people at the scene, Governor Sanwo-Olu told CNN that the bodies of those killed were now lying in a mass grave, with only two people dead. , and called on those with evidence to show that someone had been killed to provide information.

However, the Nigerian military has denied killing anyone there. Brigadier General Taiwo told the committee that one person died of his injuries on Admiralty Road when police brought a body from Yaba area of ​​Lagos State.

How long will the committee remain in place?

The panel is headed by a retired judge, Doris Okuwobi, and includes members from civil society, the Human Rights Commission, the Center for Public Arbitration and two youth representatives.

One of the youth representatives on the inquiry committee, Oluwarinu Odulala, was prominent in the protest

The Lagos State Judicial Commission has received more than 110 complaints and is expected to hear all the complainants along with their lawyers and witnesses in attendance.

The eight-member commission, which convened on October 27, will sit for six months to investigate allegations of police misconduct with a view to prosecuting officers who have erred in court and making recommendations. compensation must be paid to the victims.

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