EndSARS Lekki Tollgate massacre: Shocking findings ~ More evidence Army fired live bullets on unarmed protesters [Pt. 9]

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The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters (Lagos EndSARS Panel) has released some shocking discoveries from the Lekki Tollgate shootings of October 20, 2020 as a massacre.

The panel indicted Nigerian soldiers and other security agents in the killing, forced disappearances and injuring of tens of harmless and unarmed youths protesting police brutality at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20, 2020.

Below is part nine of a 309-page report submitted to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Monday by the Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel tagged “LASG JPI Report Of The Lekki Incident Investigation Of 20th October 2020.

This part presents more evidence that the Nigerian Army operatives fired live bullets on unarmed protesters:

Aftermath of the Lekki Toll Gate incident

A. Apart from the isolated incident of violence in some parts of Lagos State prior to October 20, 2020, the Panel finds that the massive lootings, arson, destruction and mayhem that occurred were the result of the incident of October 20, 2020 precipitated by soldiers from the 65 Battalion.

B. These wanton destructions, from the testimony of General Taiwo, were perpetrated by hoodlums, outside the Lekki Toll Gate area and thus outside the Terms of Reference of the Panel.

C. General Taiwo stated that it was after the soldiers had left, having forcefully dispersed the peaceful EndSARS protesters, that hoodlums returned to burn the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of October 20, 2020.

Shootings at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020

A. From the evidence of General Taiwo on pages 6, 7, 21, 22, the Panel finds that both blank and live bullets were fired by the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, for the following reasons:

I. Apart from the military men in uniform, the Army left its base with vehicles, rifles and guns, which contained both live and blank bullets. General Taiwo admitted at page 22 that the Army went to the Lekki Toll Gate with live ammunition.

II. As of October 30, 2020, when the Panel visited the Lekki Toll Gate for its on-the-spot assessment, it was still able to recover two bullets shells which were duly analyzed by the forensic expert hired by the Panel, Sentinel, who is very familiar with weapons used by the Nigerian Army.

These bullet shells were said to be the same as or similar to the ones normally used by the Nigerian Army and they were expended shells, meaning they were fired live at the Lekki Toll Gate.

III. Petitioners and witnesses appeared before the Panel to give vivid accounts of shootings by the Army into the crowd of protesters. The Panel finds their testimonies credible being eyewitness accounts and would ascribe probative value to their testimony over that of General Taiwo who was not physically present at the Lekki Toll Gate.

IV. The Panel finds as credible, the case of the EndSARS protesters that soldiers shot directly at protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020 as confirmed by Lagos State Ballistic Expert, Willie-Harry on page 244 that some video evidence indicate “… instances where troops were seen to be re-arming their weapons before either discharging them to the air or purposely in the direction of the protesters …”

B. The Panel believes that the deliberate absence of officers of the Nigerian Army who were present at the Lekki Toll Gate and who were summoned by the Panel was a calculated attempt to conceal material evidence from the Panel and verily believes that their presence would have damaged the case of the Nigerian Army.

C. The Panel finds the evidence, presentation and report of the Ballistic Expert engaged by Lagos State as too general and unrelated to the specific evidence before the Panel on the Lekki Toll Gate Incident.

The said report was based largely on extraneous materials that were not produced or tendered before the Panel in order to determine their source or relevance.

The witness admitted that he did not work with any document or video admitted before the Panel, he did not speak with any of the protesters or petitioners, the doctors or the pathologists or indeed any other relevant witness known to the Panel.

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