The Lagos State government has released its White Paper on the Judicial Panel of Inquiry report on the Lekki Toll Gate Incident.
The Joint Panel of Inquiry had submitted its report to Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu on the fifteenth of November after sitting for one year to probe alleged Police brutality and Endsars saga.
However, the report was leaked into the social media space and generated a lot of agitations.
In the government’s White Paper released late last night, the State Government accepted eleven out of the thirty two recommendations made by the panel.
The Government rejected one of the recommendatioms outrightly and accepted another six with modifications.
According to the White paper, fourteen out of the recommendations fall outside the powers of the Lagos State Government and would be forwarded to the Federal Government for considerations.
Report on Lekki Massacre Baffling
The recommendation rejected outrightly by the Lagos State Government is the claim that nine people were killed during protests at the Lekki Toll Gate Plaza.
The Lagos State Government described the claim as baffling, noting that apart from listing of names on pages 297-298, the Panel offered no explanation regarding circumstances surrounding the deaths
‘’It is quite astonishing that in the list of eleven (11) deaths set at pages 297-298, two (2) of the names appeared twice (Kolade Salam, , 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 LTC, himself listed as having died at LTG on 20th October 2020, Remarkably, Nathaniel Solomon’s deceased brother (Abata Solomon, was then also listed as No2 on the list of persons who died at LTG.
‘’The only victim of gunshot injury from LTG was picked up at 7:43, on 21th October 2020 after the curfew commenced (see page 99). Furthermore, there-was no-shred of evidence regarding who shot him’’
The White paper notes that another substantial inconsistency in the JPI Report was the award compensation to only one out of the alleged nine (9), listed as “deceased” which showed that the JPI itself had doubts as to the death of eight other allegedly deceased persons on its list.
‘’The JPI also surprisingly awarded the sum of N10M to one Serah Ibrahim (listed as No. 14 on Page 304 of the Report). Serah Ibrahim was neither a Petitioner nor a Claimant before the JPI. At Page 179, the Report, Serah Ibrahim testified on oath that she did not have any petition before the Panel; neither did she have any claims for compensation. This award to Serah Ibrahim is also contrary to the provisions of section 13 Tribunal of Inquiry Law 2015 (Cap. T6 La of Lagos State) which prescribes that only witnesses summoned by a Tribunal of Inquiry are entitled to witness fees subject to consent of the Attorney General. Serah Ibrahim did not testify at t request or summons of the Tribunal.’’
According to the White Paper , ‘’On the basis of the above fundamental inconsistencies in the findings the JPI regarding the nine (9) deaths at LTG and particularly because the findings are clearly and mainly 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 20th October 2020.
‘’The Government is therefore unable to accept the finding that nine people died of gunshot wounds at LTG on 20° October 2020.’’
As it relates to the role played by the military in the saga , the White Paper said that aspect had been referred to the Federal Government.