Leaked viral report of the #EndSARS Judicial Panel on Police Brutality and Other Related Abuses, which was on Monday presented to the Lagos State government, yesterday, reopened the ‘sepulcher’ of the October 20, 2021 shooting incident at the Lekki toll gate.
Some findings in the leaked report indicted Nigerian soldiers for opening fire on the assembly of unarmed protesters without provocation while they were waving the Nigerian flag and singing the national anthem, which led to the killing of some persons and ensuring violence in the state.
The Federal Government had denied that unarmed protesters were killed at the tollgate on October 20. Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed, described the incident as a “massacre without bodies.” The Nigerian Army had also denied any wrongdoing.
While the damning Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel report is yet to be officially released to the public, reactions raged with many calling for appropriate actions over some of the report’s findings, adding that it should not be made to gather dust like several other government-enabled panel reports.
Already, the United Nations (UN) and United States of America (USA) have welcomed the report submitted by the judicial panel, urging government to implement the stated recommendations. In a statement signed by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, UN noted that the submission of the findings would accelerate the process of justice and accountability.
The statement reads: “I welcome the submission to the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, of the report of the judicial panel on claims of brutality and shooting in the Lekki area of Lagos during the 2020 #EndSARS protests. I urge the government to implement the recommendations of the judicial panel to rebuild trust and start the process of healing and reconciliation.”
On its part, the United States in a statement by U.S. Consulate signed by Temitayo Famutimi, said: “We look forward to the Lagos government’s response as part of a process that represents an important mechanism of accountability regarding the #EndSARS protests.
“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.”
NIGERIAN disc jockey, Catherine Udeh, popularly known as DJ Switch, who live-streamed the shooting as it occurred then, in her reaction on her verified Twitter page, wrote on Monday night: “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 defence! #EndSARS.”