EndSARS: Lagos White Paper Trashes Judicial Panel Report On Lekki Massacre

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  • Says killing of 9 people based on assumption, speculations

Lagos State government on Tuesday released the White Paper on the Judicial Panel Inquiry (JPI) report on the EndSARS protests that took place last year, rejecting that there was ever any form of a massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate (LTG) during the incident.

The White Paper made available to newsmen affirmed that the findings of JPI that nine (9) people died at LTG on October 20, 2020, from gunshots fired by the military were based on assumptions and speculations.

The state government, in the White Paper, said the inconsistencies and contradictions in the entire JPI report, concerning the number of persons who died at the Toll Gate on the fateful day and the cause of death, rendered the judicial panel’s findings and conclusions thereon as totally unreliable and therefore unacceptable.

According to the government, “The only victim of gunshot injury from LTG was picked up at 7:43pm on 21st October 2020 after the curfew commenced (see page 99). Furthermore, there was no shred of evidence regarding who shot him.”

Notwithstanding, the state government accepted the recommendation of the judicial panel, calling for the establishment of a standing committee to bridge the gap between the society and the police via information gathering, community engagement, youth sensitisation, prompt intervention on issues that require intelligence-led policing and community policing principles for the review and action of the State Commissioner of Police.

The state government, in accepting the recommendation tagged: “Panel Recommendation No. 25,” noted it, saying it would forward it to the Federal Government and National Economic Council.

Further recommendation panel suggested that all disciplinary processes of the Nigerian Army and the police be made transparent and the outcome made public periodically, declaring that the dark days of military rule were over and more democratic principles and approaches were required to win both the peace and public trust.

Besides, the judicial panel of inquiry also recommended that any data that may have been generated over the years on the impunity of the police across Nigeria be studied and deployed as early warning signs (EWS) mechanism, all to which Lagos State government noted and promised to forward to the Federal Government and the National Economic Council.

On the panel’s recommendation that disciplinary actions be taken against officers including Col. S.O. Bello and Major- General Godwin Umelo, who refused to honour the summons of the panel in order to frustrate the investigation, the state government as indicated in the White Paper said it would also forward the recommendation to the Federal Government and the NEC as well as the Nigerian Army for their consideration.

The state government, however, agreed with the panel’s recommendation that the use of social media played a significant role in escalating the EndSARS crisis.

The government in agreeing with the observation said it was resolved to launch a campaign to sensitize the public on use of social media and the inherent dangers in its abuse.

Reacting to the recommendation made by the judicial panel that the Lekki Toll Plaza be made a memorial site for EndSARS protest, by renaming to “EndSARS TOLLGATE,” the Lagos State government said it would rather designate a park in the state and name it “Peace Park.”

According to it, this will serve as a reminder to the citizens of Lagos State of the peaceful protest all over the state against the abuse of human rights.

The state government disclosed that out of the 32 recommendations made by the JPI in its Report of 15th November 2021, Government accepted eleven (11), rejected one (1) and accepted 6 (Six) with modifications.

According to it, “Fourteen (14) recommendations fall outside the powers of Lagos State government and will be forwarded to the Federal Government for consideration.”

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