The Lagos State judicial panel on police brutality has said the state government is trying to evade responsibility by citing computer errors in its report on the shooting at Lekki till gate on October 20,2020.
The panel had in the report submitted to the state government, said nine persons were killed at the Lekki toll gate when security agents opened fire on protesters, describing the incident in context as a “massacre.”
But in a white paper released recently, the Lagos State Government accepted 11 out of the 32 recommendations of the panel. It also rejected one and accepted six with modifications.
The state government also said the finding of the panel that nine persons died was “irreconcilable” with the testimony of Prof. John Obafunwa, a pathologist.
Reacting to Lagos State Government’s white paper, a member of the panel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, in a statement said the state could have reached out to members for clarifications where necessary.
“The chairperson, all panel members and indeed the secretariat of the panel were all within the reach of the LASG for clarifications if there was sincerity, other than picking holes in order to evade responsibility on account of computer errors and tabular alignments of cut and paste,” he said.
Adegboruwa also said the duplication of names on its list of casualties was as a result of a computer error, adding that they considered several dictionary definitions of the word ‘massacre’ before it was used.
“This was a misnomer from the spreadsheet that ought to have terminated at Page 297 but mistakenly overlapped to Page 298 with the same names and same numbers.
“It was the computer error of the secretariat of the panel which could have been corrected as the secretariat of the panel was domiciled in the ministry of justice at all times.
“In any event, the mere fact of repetition of same names on a table cannot without more, nullify the uncontroverted evidence of death.
“The panel considered several definitions of the word MASSACRE and adopted one of the dictionary meanings of MASSACRE as being ‘the act or instance of killing a number of usually helpless or unresisting human beings under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty.’
“The Panel considered that firing live bullets at unarmed, peaceful and unresisting protesters which led to the death of some of them, was cruel and atrocious on the part of the military and the police. The White Paper ignored these explanations and findings by the Panel,” the statement added.