REPORT OF LEKKI INCIDENT INVESTIGATION OF
20TH OCTOBER 2020.
“Between the agitation and the state’s political cum belligerent reaction to lawful dissent, there is a space and in that space is our power to choose to engage responsibly in the spirit of unity, equity and fairness towards winning the peace.”
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Following the incidents of Police brutality which resulted in the #EndSARS Protest, the Powers conferred on the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo Olu (Mr. Governor) by Section 1 of the Tribunal of Inquiry Law, Cap T7, Laws of Lagos State,2015, Mr. Governor constituted The Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS related Abuses in Lagos State and appointed The Honourable Justice Doris Okuwobi, a Retired Judge of the Lagos State High Court as Chairperson of the Panel. Other members of the Panel were:
• Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN (Representative of the Civil Society) • Rtd. D.I.G. Frederick Taiwo Lakanu
• Patience Patrick Udoh (Representative Civil Society)
• Mr. ‘Segun Awosanya (Human Rights Activist)
• Mrs. Oluwatoyin Odusanya (Director, Citizens’ Rights)
• Mr. Lucas Koyejo, Esq. (National Human Rights Commission) • Majekodunmi, Temitope Oluwaseun (Youth Representative Nominated by the Youth)
• Mr. Babajide Boye (Secretary)
The above members of the Panel were sworn in on the 19th October, 2020 and the Panel was given the following Terms of Reference:
1. To identify victims of abuse, brutality and extra judicial killings in the hands of Officers of the disbanded SARS and Officers of the Nigeria Police Force;
2. To carry out investigative duties in respect of Petitions/Memoranda received on Police brutality and extra judicial killings in Lagos State;
3. To evaluate evidence and draw conclusions on the validity of such Petitions/Memoranda received;
4. To determine and recommend compensation for verifiable/deserving victims and their dependents; and
5. To interrogate serving or dismissed Officers of the disbanded SARS and Officers of the Nigeria Police Force, responsible for the abuse of victims and recommend their prosecution
Subsequent to the incident which occurred at the Lekki Toll Gate on the 20th of October, 2020 Mr. Governor expanded the Terms of Reference of the Panel as follows:
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“The Panel shall ensure speedy inquiry/restitution on SARS activities and Extra Judicial killings of innocent citizens by the dissolved SARS with a view of delivering justice for the Victims as well as compensate their families/dependents.”
In particular it shall –
(1) Receive memoranda from concerned members of the public and inquire into case of abuses, brutality, torture, extra-judicial killings by the disbanded SARS in Lagos State;
(2) Identify the victims of brutality, torture and extra-judicial killings by the disbanded SARS;
(3) Identify Officers of SARS involved in the abuse of rights of citizens and make appropriate recommendations for prosecution of such Officers;
(4) Evaluate the cases of the victims; determine those deserving compensation as a result of such violations by Officers of the disbanded SARS and recommend compensations payable to them from the Victims Trust Fund established by the Governor;
(5) To investigate the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate on 20th October, 2020 and make necessary findings and recommendations;
(6) Examine any other matters incidental to any of the terms of reference stated above; and
(7) Make necessary recommendation(s) to guide against future abuse of human rights by the Nigeria Police in Lagos State.”
Tenure of the Panel
By the Instrument of Appointment the Panel was given six months to discharge its duties which date commenced from 19th October, 2020. However, by the Approval dated 26th day of March, 2021 the tenure of the Panel was further extended by another three (3) months to enable the Panel conclude all Petitions before it by July 19th, 2021.
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The Inaugural Public Sitting
Upon the swearing in of the Panel members on 19th October, 2020 the Panel moved to the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) Yard, located at Five Cowrie Terminal, (Under bridge) Falomo Roundabout, Ikoyi, Lagos (initial sitting venue). The Chairperson addressed the Public and invited them to submit Petitions for consideration by the Panel. At the sitting, the Honourable Attorney-General Lagos State also introduced Mr. Jonathan Ogunsanya, Esq. as Counsel to the Panel.
Subsequent sittings of the Panel from the 26th of October, 2021 however took place at the Lagos Court of Arbitration located at 1A, Remi Olowude Street, 2nd Roundabout, Lekki-Epe Expressway, Okunde Bluewater Scheme, Lekki Peninsula, Phase 1, Lagos.
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TERMS OF REFERENCE
The Panel shall ensure speedy inquiry/ restitution on SARS activities and Extra Judicial killings of innocent citizens by the dissolved SARS with a view to delivering justice for the Victims as well as compensate their families/dependents.
IN particular it shall –
1. Receive memoranda from concerned members of the public and inquire into case of abuses, brutality, torture, extra – judicial killings by the disbanded SARS in Lagos State; 2. Identify the victims of brutality, torture and extra-judicial killings by the disbanded SARS;
3. Identify Officers of SARS involved in the abuse of rights of citizens and make appropriate recommendations for prosecution of such Officers;
4. Evaluate the cases of the victims; determine those deserving compensation as a result of such violations by Officers of the disbanded SARS and recommend compensations payable to them from the Victims Trust Fund established by the Governor;
5. To investigate the incident at the Lekki Toll- Gate on 20th October, 2020 and make necessary findings and recommendations.
6. Examine any other matters incidental to any of the terms of reference stated above; and
7. Make necessary recommendation(s) to guide against future abuse of human rights by the Nigeria Police in Lagos State.
AND I further direct that the Chairman and members of the Panel constituted under this instrument shall remain in Office for a period of six (6) months commencing from the date of appointment and this period may be extended at the discretion of the Governor in writing.
DATED THIS 24TH DAY OF OCTOBER, 2020
MR. BABAJIDE OLUSOLA SANWO-OLU
GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE
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HONORABLE CHAIRPERSON of The Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry
There was a social unrest and mass protest against police brutality in the country calling for disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a notorious unit of the police force with a long record of abuses, corruption, unlawful arrest, detention and extrajudicial killings.
Arising from the foregoing, mass demonstrations which occurred throughout Nigeria and accompanied by vociferous outrage on social media platforms.
It was against this background that the EndSARS protest started between the 8th of October – 20th October 2020 in different states of the federation. The Lagos protest took a different dimension with the military deployed to the Lekki Toll Gate, the epicenter of the protest in Lagos, on the 20th October 2020.
In a bit to look into the malaise, the National Economic Council directed all states to setup the Judicial Panels of Inquiry and the Lagos Panel was inaugurated on the 19th October, 2020 for restitution for victims of SARS related abuses and other matters.
Lekki Incident of 20th October, 2020 was made an additional term of reference for this panel. This report is a product of extensive evidence taken at the public hearings with key stakeholders and pertinent role players appearing at the hearings.
There can be no single report which can fully resolve the issues between the government and the youth. I am certain that this report will add to the inventory of solutions that can assist the nation in overcoming the widespread agitations of the citizens against the police force.
The report is commended to all with the hope that history will be kind to Panel members when many of the recommendations are implemented.
Honourable Justice Doris Okuwobi (Rtd)
THE LAGOS JUDICIAL PANEL OF INQUIRY
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MEMBERS OF THE LAGOS JUDICIAL PANEL OF INQUIRY ON RESTITUTION FOR VICTIMS OF SARS RELATED ABUSES AND OTHER MATTERS.
1. HONOURABLE JUSTICE DORIS OKUWOBI (RTD) CHAIRPERSON 2. MR. EBUN-OLU ADEGBORUWA, SAN MEMBER 3. DIG. FREDRICK TAIWO LAKANU (RTD) MEMBER 4. MS. PATIENCE PATRICK UDOH MEMBER 5. MR. ‘SEGUN AWOSANYA MEMBER 6. MRS. OLUWATOYIN ODUSANYA MEMBER 7. MR. LUCAS KOYEJO MEMBER 8. MR. MAJEKODUNMI, TEMITOPE OLUWASEUN MEMBER
MR BABAJIDE T. BOYE Panel Secretary MR. JONATHAN OGUNSANYA Counsel to the Panel
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With gratitude to God Almighty, the Chairman: Hon. Justice Doris Tomilayo Okuwobi and members of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters would like to thank the Federal Government in general and the Lagos State Government in particular for setting up this Panel and providing the necessary logistics, the office of the Honorable Attorney General of Lagos State for valuing the independence of the Panel, and the consistent support of the Ministry of Justice to the Panel.
The Panel acknowledges the hardworking and invaluable contributions of the following members of its Secretariat Mrs. Abimbola Abolade, Miss Daisy Ossai, Mr. Taiwo Taiwo (Legal Counsel), Miss Zurat Mohammed- Bello (Verbatim Reporter), Mr. Moshood Shittu (Registrar), Mr. Damilola Isaacs (Media).
We thank all participants in the investigation of the Panel starting with the President of the Nigerian Bar Association and members for their active and diligent participation in the process.
We specially thank all the Senior Advocates of Nigeria, senior lawyers and all legal practitioners that represented the several petitioners for their dedication and commitment.
Sincere appreciation goes to the EndSARS protesters who appeared before the Panel, either as Petitioners or as Witnesses for their invaluable contribution that made the Panel’s investigation easier and especially to Lawyers, who represented the Nigeria Police Force for their diligence in responding to the several petitions and throwing light on some of the issues.
We wish to also thank the different Stakeholders including the experts and medical practitioners that actively participated in the investigation of the Panel in enabling us unravel through scientific means, what actually happened in the individual petitions and on the 20th October 2020, especially staff of the following organizations: Reddington Hospital, Vedic Life Healthcare, Grandville Trauma Centre, Victoria Island Consultancy, General Hospital Marina and medical Services Hospitals, LASUTH,
Doreen Hospital among others.
This acknowledgment will be incomplete without appreciation to the members of the fourth estate of the realm; the Press, whose discipline, passion and professionalism during the process of investigation contributed to the success achieved by the Panel.
Thank You All
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFACE ………………………………………………………………………………..3-5 FOREWORD BY THE HONORABLE JUSTICE DORIS T. OKUWOBI (RTD)………..7 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS…………………………………………………………………9 TABLE OF CONTENTS ………………………………………………………………….10 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY………………………………………………………………….11 BACKGROUND …………………………………………………………………………..12 PROCEEDINGS…………………………………………………………………… 13 – 263
FINDINGS …………………………………………………………………………264 – 286 COMPENDIUM OF RECOMMENDATIONS …….……………………………287 – 290 CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………………………..290
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The #EndSARS #ReformPoliceNG Advocacy upon which the protesters premised their #EndSARS demonstration of discontent/Protest on, has been the most prominent advocacy in Nigeria and a major rallying point, convergence and common ground for the national Police brutality imbroglio since 2016.
This is one of the reasons why the advocacy was surgically curated and the youth protest that followed built on that protocol in an orderly, organized and transparent fashion, reinforcing the specific objective of shutting down the culture of impunity (#EndSARS) —through the disbandment of the poster child of impunity within the police structure (i.e. SARS and all Tactical Squads of the Police formation) and the End Goal of the holistic reformation of the Nigeria Police Force–#ReformPoliceNG.
However, the dearth of proper public orientation and sensitization by the Federal Government about the progress made over the years on the trajectory of reformation of the Nigeria Police Force, given the years of advocacy and dialogues cum the persistence of outrageous and gross violation of human rights (torture, extra judicial killings, extortion, robbery, unlawful arrest and detention among others) with impunity, being perpetrated by the Nigeria Police, forced the youth to express their constitutionally protected Rights and Freedom of Expression and Assembly to demonstrate their discontent from the 8th – 20th
From the 8th of October 2020, the protest under hashtag #ENDSARS started in Lagos and grew into large movement at various locations in Lagos and across the country principally targeted towards drawing attention to the ubiquitous incidents of Police brutality (Culture of Impunity) and poor working conditions of Police officers.
One of the demands from the protesters was the setting up of Judicial Panels of Inquiry to investigate cases of Police brutality. Lagos State Government obliged this request on the 15th of October, 2020 and set up the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry Into Victims of Police Brutality and other Related Matters, which was inaugurated on the 19th of October 2020.
Its main Terms of Reference was to look into cases of Police brutality and other related matters and award compensation to successful petitions. The members were Honourable Justice Doris Okuwobi, Chairperson, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN, representing Civil Society, Retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Frederick Taiwo Lakanu, Ms. Patience Patrick Udoh representing Civil Society, Mr. Segun Awosanya, Human Rights Activist, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Odusanya , Director of Citizens’ Rights, Ministry of Justice, Mr Lucas Koyejo Esq.
representative of the National Human Rights Commission, and Mr. Majekodunmi Temitope Oluwaseun, Youth Representative.
The Panel shall ensure speedy inquiry/restitution on SARS activities and Extra-Judicial killings of innocent citizens by the dissolved SARS with a view to delivering justice for the Victims as well as compensate their families/dependents.
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IN particular it shall –
1. Receive memoranda from concerned members of the public and inquire into cases of abuse, brutality, torture, extra – judicial killings by the disbanded SARS in Lagos State;
2. Identify the victims of brutality, torture and extra-judicial killings by the disbanded SARS;
3. Identify Officers of SARS involved in the abuse of rights of citizens and make appropriate recommendations for prosecution of such Officers;
4. Evaluate the cases of the victims; determine those deserving compensation as a result of such violations by Officers of the disbanded SARS and recommend compensations payable to them from the Victims Trust Fund established by the Governor;
5. To investigate the incident at the Lekki Toll- Gate on 20th October, 2020 and make necessary findings and recommendations.
6. Examine any other matters incidental to any of the terms of reference stated above; and
7. Make necessary recommendation(s) to guide against future abuse of human rights by the Nigeria Police in Lagos State.
AND the Governor further directed that the Chairman and members of the Panel constituted under this instrument shall remain in Office for a period of six (6) months commencing from the date of appointment and this period may be extended at the discretion of the Governor in writing.
Following the Panel’s inauguration, on the 20th of October 2020 there were allegations that the officers of the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police Force had gone to the Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos State, the epicenter of the #ENDSARS protests and shot at peaceful protesters.
Following this, the Lagos State Government expanded the Terms of Reference of the Panel to include an investigation into what became known as the Lekki Toll Gate ( LTG) Incident. The composition of members facilitated a comprehensive and cohesive approach to the investigative work of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry.
The Panel began its investigation into the Lekki Toll Gate Incident of 20th October, 2020, by issuing Summons to parties it considered pertinent to its finding and investigations as follows: The Lekki Concession Company (LCC), operators of the Lekki Toll Gate, Nigerian Army (NA); The Hierarchy of Lagos State Police Command and later also to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Maroko Police Division, the Lagos State Government, various hospitals, who were said to have attended to victims of the Lekki Toll Gate Incident, Operators of Advertising Billboards at the Lekki Toll Gate, and News outlets who carried investigative journalism on the incident.
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The response to the Summons was hugely positive, as over 80% of those summoned honored the invitations, and gave evidence before the Panel, which assisted it greatly in unravelling the events of the 20th October 2020. The protesters on their own attended the Panel’s proceedings and presented evidence of what happened at the Lekki Toll Gate on the 20th of October, 2020.
On the part of the ENDSARS Protesters the Panel specifically considered the evidence of persons, who alleged that they were victims with injuries or death of their loved ones, which occurred during the Lekki Toll Gate Incident and the testimonies of those who were present and traumatized. Some gave accounts of what happened even though they had no physical injuries.
The evidence considered in this regard usually represented similar versions of the Lekki Toll Gate Incident as corroborated by other protesters, who were treated as Petitioners with Petitions arising from the Toll Gate Incident. Virtually all witnesses were cross examined by counsel to parties with opposing versions of Lekki Toll Gate Incident. Sequel to the above the Panel reached its findings and prepared its reports despite the evidence of the Nigerian Army, that was limited, as most of the officers who were summoned and who filed affidavits never appeared before the Panel).
At the conclusion of evidence of all relevant parties, key issues which called for determination and upon which the findings of the Panel were based are summarized as follows:
• Whether the Nigerian Army used live bullets on unarmed and defenseless protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on 20th October 2020?
• Whether the live bullets resulted in injuries or casualties on the part of the protesters? • Whether the Police was at the Toll Gate on the night of the 20th of October 2020 and the morning of the 21st of October 2020 and whether they shot at unarmed and defenseless protesters?
• Whether the LCC played any role in the events of the night of the 20th of October 2020?
• Whether the Lagos State played any role in the Lekki Toll Gate Incident of the 20th of October 2020.
The Panel thus made the following key findings :
1. That the Nigerian Army was invited for intervention in the State and was deployed to Lekki Toll Gate on the 20th of October 2020. At the Lekki Toll Gate, officers of the Nigerian Army shot, injured and killed unarmed helpless and defenseless protesters, without provocation or justification, while they were waving the Nigerian Flag and singing the National Anthem and the manner of assault and killing could in context be described as a massacre. The Panel also found that the conduct of the Nigerian Army was exacerbated by its refusal to allow ambulances render medical assistance
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to victims who required such assistance. The Army was also found not to have adhered to its own Rules of Engagement.
2. The Panel found that the Nigerian Police Force deployed its officers to the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of the 20th October, 2020 and between that night and the morning of the 21st of October, 2020, its officer shot at, assaulted and battered unarmed protesters, which led to injuries and deaths. The police officers also tried to cover up their actions by picking up bullets.
3. The panel found that LCC hampered the panel’s investigation by refusing to turn over some useful and vital information/evidence as requested by the Panel and the Forensic Expert engaged by the panel, even where such information and evidence was by the company’s admission, available. It manipulated the incomplete CCTV Video footage of the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of the 20th of October 2020, which it tendered before the Panel.
4. The Panel found that there was an invitation of the Nigerian Army to Lagos State made by the Lagos State Government through the Governor before the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army deployed its soldiers to the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of the 20th of October.
5. The Panel found that there was an attempt to cover up the Incident of the 20th of October by the cleaning of the Lekki Toll Gate and the failure to preserve the scene ahead of potential investigations.
Upon the above key findings amongst others, the Panel made a total of 32 Recommendations, which included but not limited to:
• Holistic Police Reforms covering welfare, training and proper equipping of Policemen and their working environment;
• Sanctioning of the officers of the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police Force respectively who participated in shooting, injuring and killing of unarmed protestors at the Lekki Toll Gate on the 20 and 21st of October 2020;
• Development of more robust engagement between the Youth and the Government; • Setting up of a Standing Committee/Tribunal to deal with cases of Violation of Human Rights by security agencies and a trust fund to settle compensation awarded by such committee/tribunal;
• A public apology to ENDSARS protesters who were killed, injured and traumatized by the Incident of the 20th of October 2020;
• The memorialization of the Lekki Toll Gate and the 20th of October going forward.
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• The recognition of Hospitals and Medical Doctors who played heroic roles following the Incident of the Lekki Toll Gate on the 20th of October 2020 thereby saving lives and minimizing the impact of the injuries suffered by the victims, most of which were on a pro-bono basis;
• The Panel recommended various sums of compensation to victims of the Lekki Toll Gate Incident, which must be expeditious in order to accelerate the healing process. • The Panel 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.
The Panel recognizes that it had the cooperation of most stakeholders save for the Nigerian Army and some others who ignored summons issued by the Panel. The Panel accordingly notes the cooperation of stakeholders through their respective Counsel, such Counsel included, members of the Nigerian Bar Association, Counsel to the various groups of ENDSARS Protesters, Counsel to Lagos State Government, and Counsel to the Nigeria Police
The Panel is grateful to the experts, who honored its various summons to attend proceedings and provide the panel with vital information and evidence. The contributions of the aforementioned aided tremendously the investigative work of the Panel.
The greatest limitation of the Panel was time as the Panel had to undertake its investigation into the Lekki Toll Gate Incident alongside other petitions in respect of Police brutality related matters. Following this limitation the panel was unable to determine all Petitions arising from the Lekki Toll Gate Incident and accordingly urges that those petitions be heard and determined by the standing committee/tribunal on Human Rights recommended by it.
The Panel thanks the Lagos State Government for giving it the opportunity to serve, providing the resources and allowing it to conduct its investigations and arrive at its findings independently and with integrity.
The Panel believes that with the implementation of the recommendations, the LEKKI TOLL GATE INCIDENT OF 20TH OCTOBER 2020 will never happen again, lessons will be learnt on all sides and there will be healing in the great state of Lagos State.
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The #EndSARS #ReformPoliceNG Advocacy upon which the protesters premised their #EndSARS demonstration of discontent (Protest) on, has been the most prominent advocacy in Nigeria and a major rallying point, convergence and common ground for the national police brutality imbroglio since 2016.
This is one of the reasons why the advocacy was surgically curated and the youth protest that followed built on that protocol in an orderly, organized and transparent fashion, reinforcing the specific objective of shutting down the culture of impunity (#EndSARS) —through the disbandment of the poster child of impunity within the police structure (i.e. SARS and all tactical squads of the Police formation) and the End Goal of the holistic reformation of the Nigeria Police Force–#ReformPoliceNG.
However, the dearth of proper public orientation and sensitization by the Federal Government about the progress made over the years on the trajectory of reformation of the Nigeria Police Force, given the years of advocacy and dialogues cum the persistence of outrageous and gross violation of human rights (torture, extra judicial killings, extortion, robbery, unlawful arrest and detention among others) with impunity, being perpetrated by the Nigeria Police, forced the youth to express their constitutionally protected rights and freedom of expression and assembly to demonstrate their discontent from the 8th – 20th October, 2020.
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LEKKI TOLL- GATE INCIDENT/ INQUIRY INTO THE #EndSARS PROTEST. Introduction
The Panel officially began its inquiry into the incident of 20th October, 2020 by issuing Summons’ to Officers of the Nigerian Army, the Lekki Concession Company, Officials of the Lagos State Government the Lagos State Commissioner of Police and various entities.
The following Summons’ issued by the Panel are as follows:
|S/N Parties Date Issued Date Received Status|
|1.||Lt. Colonel S.O Bello||• 28th October, 2020 • Re-issued 27th November, 2020||• 31st October, 2020 • 30th November, 2020||Did not Appear|
|2.||Major General Godwin Umelo||• 28th October, 2020 •Re-issued 27th November, 2020 • 15th December, 2020 to be served c/o his Counsel.||• 31st October, 2020 • 30th November, 2020 • Served||Did not Appear|
|3.||Brigadier General Francis Ogbaje Omata||15th December, 2020 to be served c/o his Counsel.||• Served||Did not Appear|
|4.||Commissioner of Police, Lagos State||28th October, 2020||31st October, 2020||Appeared|
|5.||Mr Hakeem Muri Okunola (Head of||28th October, 2020||2nd November, 2020||Appeared|
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|Service to Lagos State Government)|
|6.||Stephanie Busari & Team (CNN)||28th November, 2020||2nd December, 2020||Did not Appear|
|7.||Mr. Yomi Omomuwasan, Managing Director, Lekki Concession Company.||28th of October, 2020||Delivered via electronic means by Mr.s. Odusanya.||Witness appeared on 3rd, 6th, 21st, 27th November, 2020 respectively.|
|8.||Reddington Hospital, Victoria Island.||• 4th December, 2020 • Re-issued 15th December, 2020||• 11th December, 2020 • 18th December, 2020||• Mr.. Oladipo appeared on the 5th of January, 2020 to tender Medical Reports.|
|9.||Loatsad Promedia||8th December, 2020||11th December, 2020||Appeared|
|10.||Prof (Dr) John Oladapo Obafunwa||4th May 2021, 2021||Appeared|
Visit to Locus in Quo
The proceedings of the 30th of October, 2020 commenced with the business of the day being a visit to the locus in quo of the shootings of #EndSARS protesters, which was the Lekki-Admiralty Toll Plaza (Sand-Fill), Lagos. The inspection was conducted by the distinguished members of the panel and at the site Mr. Yomi Omomuwasan, the MD of LCC received and guided the delegation round the site. At the site of the incident, two (2) empty shells suspected to be spent bullets were recovered by the Panel and damages to the facility observed.
Subsequent to its visit to the locus in quo, the Panel sought to take the evidence of the Managing Director of Lekki Concession Company (‘LCC’) Mr. Yomi Omomuwasan, who appeared in the company of the Head of the Legal Department, Mr. Gbolahan Agboluwaje pursuant to a summons dated the 28th of October, 2020.
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After being sworn on the Bible, Mr. Omomuwasan informed the Panel that although the LCC was ready to show the footage of the alleged shootings of the #EndSARS protesters, which occurred at the toll gate of the Admiralty Circle Plaza, Lekki, there was a need to seek for an adjournment in order for the Counsel of the LCC to be present. The Chairperson granted the request while noting that it was the right of every witness called to have a Counsel of his choice.
On the same day the Panel also made an unscheduled visit to the Military Hospital, Falomo, Lagos with the aim of viewing its morgue, and recovering evidence that could assist the Panel.
Although the Panel was initially denied access, but they were taken to a building which was said to be the military hospital as well as a detached building at the back of the hospital eventually granted entry. According to the military authorities, the hospital and morgue had been under renovation since October 2019 and had not been in use since then.
SUMMARY OF THE PROCEEDINGS IN RESPECT OF THE LEKKI TOLL-GATE INCIDENT ON THE 14TH OF NOVEMBER, 2020.
Evidence of the Nigerian Army In Respect of the Lekki Toll-Gate Incident of 20th October, 2020.
The lead Counsel for Nigerian Army, Mr. A. T. Kehinde, SAN on the 6th of November, 2020 filed the following documents as its official responses to the Summons issued on the Nigerian Army to writ:
a) The Witness Statement deposed to by Brigadier General Ahmed Ibrahim Taiwo, the commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos;
b) The Witness Statement deposed to by Brigadier General Nsikak John Edet, the Chief of Staff, , 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Victoria Island, Lagos;
c) The Witness Statement deposed to by Brigadier General Francis Ogbaje Omata, Commander 81 Division Garrison, Victoria Island, Lagos;
d) The Witness Statement deposed to by Brigadier General Musa Awwal Etsu Ndangi, the Commander 9 Brigade, Ikeja, Lagos State;
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e) The Witness Statement deposed to by Lieutenant Colonel Salisu Ovada Bello, Commanding Officer, 65 Battalion, Bonny Camp, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The following appearances were entered in respect of the Nigerian Army summons:
• A.T. Kehinde SAN, with Samuel Agbe, Biola Oyebanji, Col. Michael Ebe Enang (Rtd) and Major E. O. Ehicheoya for the Nigerian Army.
• A.J. Owonikoko SAN, with I. J. Okechukwu, Yetunde Olabode and Joshua Tony Esq. for Lagos State Government.
• Rotimi Seriki with Akin Elegbede Esq. for Lekki Concession.
• Adeshina Ademola Ogunlana with Ayo Ademiluyi Esq. for the following ENDSARS Protesters, Victoria Oniru, Dabira Ayuku, Olugbe Ofoluafe, Samuel Isa, James Akhigbe, Nicholas Anthony Okpe, Patrick Ukala and Damilola Adedayo.
• Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika SAN, with Inibehe Effiong and Onaolapo Obilade Esq. for the following victims of the Lekki Toll gate incident: Raimi Olumide, Solomon Samuel, Olamilekan Sanusi, Ayodeji Beckley, Samuel Asala, Agbese Isiawu and Onileowo Legend.
SUMMARY OF THE EVIDENCE OF BRIGADIER GENERAL A.I. TAIWO, COMMANDER, 81 MILITARY INTELLIGENCE BRIGADE, NIGERIAN ARMY, VICTORIA ISLAND.
• Background to the Involvement of the Nigerian Army
Brigadier General A.I. Taiwo’s presentation was done by way of an oral presentation, whilst using slides, videos, images and other materials, which he warned were very gruesome and graphic. He condemned the fact that the Lagos crisis was reduced to the occurrence at the Lekki Toll Gate, and that little mention, if any at all is made of the wanton loss of lives (especially that of police Officers), massive destruction of infrastructure and properties prior to and after that incident as well as the misinformation against the Nigerian Army. He then noted that world over; it is the
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task of the Armed Forces to intervene when a situation overcomes the Police and other paramilitary services.
He noted that in Nigeria, Section 217(2) (C) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) mandates the Armed Forces to suppress civil insurrection and protect the territorial integrity of the Nation from internal and external aggression. He further noted that throughout the #EndSARS protest which started in early October, the Nigerian Army neither involved itself nor intervened until Lagos State had descended into a state of lawlessness, anarchy, violence and the events that finally culminated in the 20th October incident at the Lekki Toll- gate when it was called out.
The witness reminisced that the state of affairs in Lagos were reminiscent of the Liberian civil war. Further, he also stated that Lagos State lost major expressways such as the Apapa-Oshodi express way, Ikorodu Road. In addition, hoodlums had begun extorting money from innocent Nigerians, damaging properties, looting, raping and killing, all in the name of #EndSARS protest. He further stated that it was a fact that once a peaceful protest had gone past 2-3 days, hoodlums were waiting to hijack the genuine protest in order to cause mayhem. He noted that the case in Lagos was no different.
The witness noted that this state of affairs continued up to the 19th of October, 2020 when he got caught up in one of such mobs. Further, that the people whom he met at Apogbon, Marina, Ijora, Apapa, were not the genuine #EndSARS protesters, but criminals who were hiding under the auspices of #EndSARS to perpetrate these crimes. Things took a turn for the worse on the 20th of October 2020, when the hoodlums began burning Police stations (such as Orile Police Station,), stealing ammunitions from the Police stations, killing and lynching Policemen in the most gruesome manner as well as the practice of cannibalism on their corpses. The witness noted that it was this state of affairs that made the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu rightly request for the intervention of the Army by 12 noon, on the 20th of October, 2020 because the Police had been overrun and were also fighting for their lives.
Further to the above, the Governor declared a curfew starting from 12noon. However, the timing was unilaterally adjusted to commence at 2100 hours (9pm) without the Army being informed. Despite this, the Army deployed immediately to forestall further violence and loss of lives throughout Lagos State, upon receipt of the signal to activate phase 4 of Internal Security (IS). Phase 4 is the immediate deployment of soldiers outside the barracks to intervene. Troops were deployed from all Barracks in Lagos State in order to restore order and return normalcy to the State.
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• Testimony On Rules of Engagement Employed by the Army
The witness emphasized that the troops strictly followed the Rules of Engagement for Internal Security and proceeded to examine said Rules of Internal Engagement for Operation MESA and other Internal Security Operations, which they could be called for. He also noted that all Officers and Commanders are mandated to observe these Rules of Engagement. The situation in Lagos was brought under control through the use of non-kinetic means, which are mandated and contained in the rules of engagement. Non-kinetic means are those means short of violence to resolve a situation while kinetic means is the use of violence to resolve a situation. Some of these rules include, but are not limited to:
• The principle of minimum force and proportionality;
• Use of personal contact and negotiation;
• use of lethal force as a means of last resort, where other means to control the situation had failed; in the case of unexpected attack and in the case of suspected improvised explosive device (I.E.D.) attacks during, which a delay could lead to loss of lives or serious injury to personnel;
• Any force applied must be limited in intensity and duration;
• Any force applied must also be commensurate with the level of threat posed; • Force shall only be used when absolutely necessary to achieve an immediate aim;
• The decision to open fire shall be made only on orders and under the control of the on-scene Commander;
• Where there is insufficient time to obtain such order, fire can however be open if the life of the soldier, life of any law abiding member of the public and/or property of which is our duty to protect is in grave danger;
• After firing has ceased, medical assistance must be rendered; • Details of incidents, both in writing and on audio-visual equipment on whether or not there were casualties must be recorded.
• Testimony On Conduct of Troops at the Lekki Toll-Gate on 20th October, 2020
In relation to the Lekki Toll-gate issue, the witness noted that troops were deployed from the 65 Battalion acting under 81 Division Garrison who formed a mobile team to patrol up to Epe, Ibeju Lekki, Sango-tedo and Badore and other areas. He also noted that when the troops got to the Toll gate, the Police were already trying to
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deter people who wanted to burn the Oriental Hotel, and that the Commander on ground met genuine #EndSARS protesters and some hoodlums. While playing a video, the witness noted that some protesters (whom he later referred to as hoodlums) wearing light colored clothes came to challenge the soldiers and started pelting them with stones and bottles, which he further noted were the muzzle flashes which were being seen.
Witness emphasized that the troops fired in the air and only fired blank ammunition to disperse the crowd because the Commander on the ground made the determination, despite the provocation from these hoodlums. Witness further noted that if the troops had fired live bullets at the said hoodlums, genuine protesters might have suffered collateral damage. He also made it a point to inform the Panel that it was impossible for protesters to continue dancing if the troops had fired live rounds at the protesters. The witness further stated that at this time, the genuine #EndSARS protesters had sat on the floor and after a while the soldiers were able to push them after the Toll Gate. Further, that the troops gave the protesters water and drinks and urged them to leave.
The witness emphasized that he monitored the internet that night. He noted that after the soldiers had left, the hoodlums returned and burnt the Toll-gate, which constituted a part of the wider damage. He also noted that later that night at about 9:43pm, one of the twitter handles of #EndSARS protesters released a picture of alleged live bullets used at the peaceful protest at the Lekki toll gate. He requested members of the Panel and the public to observe the said cartridge, noting that it was a blank bullet. For the benefit of everyone, the witness showed the public a picture of an expended (blank) ammunition on the screen of the projector, while noting that it only contained gun powder which makes just noise and produced the flashes the public saw during the incident of the 20th October, 2020. He explained it was an unexpended round of 7.62mm round blank.
The witness went on to explain that a live round when fired, has a muscle velocity of 700meters per second and is effective up to 600meters. This means that when the rifle was fired, it was capable of killing someone up to 600m away depending on the skill of the person firing. Further, with such heavy muscle velocity, the damage would be unimaginable if it was shot at someone who was 10meters away, given the compact crowd at the toll gate, the rifle when fired would have killed up to three (3) people. Where the bullet hits the victim on the head, brain matter would be deposited on the ground as the entry hole is thin while the exit is wide. Where it hits a person in the chest or bowels, the intestine comes out. Based on his years of experience in the Nigerian Army, he concluded that he was an expert in ammunition. In the case of blank ammunitions, the velocity gets slower and slower and does no damage to flesh anywhere further than a couple of feet. Going further he stated that
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the person would have nothing to fear, except the rifle is put against the eye and fired. Even where the rifle with blank ammunition is put against the skin and fired, one will only have a burn mark to show for it.
The witness noted that throughout the night of 20th/21st of October, 2020 Lagos state, especially the Island up to Sangotedo to Ibeju-Lekki was on fire and this state of affairs were replicated everywhere. Businesses such as The Clarit Place, a multibillion naira investment was looted, destroyed and burnt.
He also noted that because the 81 Division was short of troops, the Chief of Army staff, Brigadier General Buratai gave an extraordinary order that all Army schools should be shut down and everybody should be brought into the operations. He personally briefed those troops who comprised of men and women, who were due to graduate on the 21st of October, 2020. However, eight (8) of them missed their weddings because they had been deployed.
He further noted that he reminded them of the Rules of Engagement, admonished them and reminded them of the Chief of Army Staff’s special directive that they were not to molest civilians, especially women and children. They were also told that they were only to open fire on the command of the Commander on ground or in the event that their lives or innocent lives of civilians are being threatened. He also noted that the troops were able to rescue the Oba of Lagos and his family members out of his palace on the 21st of October after some hoodlums had invaded it. Not only was the mace stolen, the palace was also looted and burnt while the Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) of the Police which is usually deployed when there is a riot was also burnt.
• Testimony on Aftermath of the Protests and the conduct of the Army
The Lagos Business District (Marina) Area such as Cash ‘n’ Carry and the Nigerian Ports Authority were also looted. Vehicles were set ablaze and burnt, while offices were ransacked and vandalized. The witness also alleged that the hoodlums attempted to invade the government house, Marina but were repelled by Armed troops. In addition, he also alleged that there was an attempted jailbreaks at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre, which was also simultaneously carried out with that at Kirikiri Correctional Centre. Further, that the inmates set their accommodation ablaze and hoped to escape in the ensuing confusion. However, the 81 division supported the Correctional Services and Police who were there to contain the outbreak in both places. Additionally, the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, was also looted, vandalized and then burned to the ground.
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The witness also noted that businesses such as Shoprite and SPAR Lekki, were also looted and vandalized. In addition, women, men, children and even mothers were enabling and leading their children to loot the said businesses. Circle Mall, Lekki was also set on fire. All the looters arrested were taken to 65 Battalion Military Base, Lagos.
The witness also noted that an audio message which was purportedly from one Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra claiming the Igbos were responsible for the mayhem in Lagos was untrue, because his assessment revealed that most of those businesses were owned by Igbo people such as Okey Ndibe, Simon Miyesi, Azubuike.
The witness further revealed that one of the thieves arrested was a man who had looted items required for a house. The said man had stolen items such as doors and air conditioners, and that by the time the troops went to arrest him, he had already installed them. Further, that many looters who were not arrested within the premises of these businesses were arrested with looted items on the road. It was a free-for-all.
• Testimony On The Stabilization Efforts of the Army in Lagos State
The State had entered the stabilization phase with the efforts of the Army when the Lagos State government unilaterally shifted the curfew to 6 O’clock initially and then subsequently to 10pm. On both occasions, the Army was not informed or carried along. The troops recovered a lot of looted items which were handed over to their owners on provision of receipt or proof of ownership. Other items recovered from looters, as well as the looters themselves were handed over to the Police for prosecution.
He asserted that had the curfew not been lifted by the state government, the Army would have recovered a 100 times the looted items than they did. He further noted that Jakande, Alpha Beach, Sango-tedo and other areas within Lekki were awashed with looted items. At Shoprite, Sango-tedo three (3) Nigerian citizens were arrested there. The suspects were fed three times daily with what the soldiers were being fed and also hydrated with minerals and water.
He noted that the most targeted places were financial institutions. A bank in Ijora was vandalized, same as their vehicles and an ATM. The hoodlums attempted to break into the vault of the ATM with a cutting machine. Because the vault was about 20mm, it would have taken them a better part of maybe a night or so to cut it. The hoodlums tried to penetrate it from the side and the top with no luck. This caused them to come with the cutting machine, when they managed to cut this iron, they met concrete inside, causing them to give up. Vehicles were also vandalized in the bank. Many of
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them had their brain boxes removed three (3) boys were arrested within the premises of Zentih Bank, Ajah. He noted that the suspect in the middle, known as Gift GodSent was one of those who burnt the Ajah Police station in which a Policeman died. The suspect had selfies of him carrying out the act on his phone.
He noted that the Army was able to help banks evacuate about 2billion naira after 2 days as many of those vaults had been damaged, while the hoodlums moved the another ATM to another location entirely. This, he opined would have taken considerable effort to do. In another instance, a foreign national, a Ghanaian, who had been stabbed and robbed, was treated by soldiers who also bought him a new shirt, gave him a haircut and returned him to his consulate in Ikeja.
With respect to the aftermath of the crisis, the witness stated that the troops managed to arrest these robbers with weapons stolen from the Police armory, which is responsible for a high level of insecurity along Ajah, Badore, Sango-tedo axis. He alleged the hoodlums made deliberate attempts to get rid of the Police in that area so they could operate freely. He further stated that at Badore, a bullion van or armored truck carrying money was attacked. He noted that this modus operandi was unusual of robbers in Lagos State, unlike other states where they used dynamites and other means. In the aftermath of that incident, a motorcycle rider (okada man) lost his life.
With respect to cult fights, he apologized beforehand for some of the very graphic and gruesome images. He noted that the cult fights were a fight for supremacy. Consequently, needless violence was employed in the fight for supremacy. In the course of which, innocent citizens were killed and lynched. He further noted that the Jakande area, just opposite Shoprite is a slum and a coven for cultists. The troops were able to save not less than 6 people from being lynched. In about a week, from Monday to Wednesday, not less than 12 people had been killed from reports reaching the Army.
• Testimony On The Panel’s visit to the Military Hospital, Falomo, Lagos.
With respect to the visit of the Panel to the Military Hospital, Lagos, he stated that he got to know about the efforts of the Panel in trying to gain entrance to the facility while he was watching the television. He however noted that a military barrack is a restricted area anywhere in the world, even so-called free countries. He further noted that a person could not just waltz in to a Barracks. This he also noted was what accounted for the thirty minutes delay, as entry was only granted when the General Officer Commanding ordered him to quickly reach the hospital in order for them to grant the Panel access and also inform the Panel that there are procedures to such visits. He further noted that when he was informed by A member of the Panel that
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the Panel was there based on intelligence received that the hospital’s mortuary had some corpses that were deposited from the incident at Lekki Tollgate.
He however asserted that the information was false. He noted the Military Hospital, Falomo, Lagos had been under repairs for over a year, due to the deteriorating state of the equipment and the facilities generally. He further noted that it was this state of affairs that led the Chief of Army staff to decide that the facility had to be renovated, he referred to “reference” hospitals built in Abakaliki and Maiduguri while about 44-
68 Reference Hospitals are being renovated. The witness also explained that the decorative renovations of Military Hospital, Falomo, Lagos at the time of the Panel’s visit, were only about 75% complete. Further, that the Officer Commanding/Commandant’s office had been relocated into the Officer’s mess (structure beside the mosque) while all doctors and nurses, except the Matron and a few others, had been posted to other units since the previous year to work.
• Testimony On Misinformation levied against the Nigerian Army
The witness decried the amount of misinformation that was made against the Nigerian Army. He noted that everything done by the Army in fulfillment of its constitutional mandate was always criticized. Even where facts beyond refute are produced by the Army is still believed to be lying. He gave the example of a Yoruba
woman (Mrs. Aisha Muhammed) whom he personally arrested at Circle Mall, Lekki that claimed to have been detained without being given food while the Officer s released two other Hausa women that were arrested along with her because they were Hausa. He queried the facts as presented by the woman to the press because he noted that he, a Yoruba man arrested her, while the other Officer with him was Yoruba and the Military Police investigating was from the South-South.
The witness also made reference to a BBC report where the reporter who claimed that she was there at the scene stated that the troops were shooting in the air, and that the casualties she saw had been overcome by shock. He however noted that the narrative was not thrilling in the public space because it did not fit the narrative of what some members of the public wanted to hear. Consequently, they insisted that images had been photo-shopped and manipulated. However, this was only a ploy by propagators of false news on social media, such as Nnamdi Kanu seeking to drive a wedge between the Army and the citizens of Nigeria. He noted that while such things may appear insignificant, they actually mean a lot and it is these tactics such people use to sow confusion.
He further noted that some impostors presented as soldiers in order to carry out atrocities. This led to the nabbing and parade of fake soldiers by the 81 Division during the COVID-19 period. They were being arrested at the rate of 25 persons per
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day. Additionally, he insisted that the image of the Nigerian flag being erroneously used to illustrate the Lekki toll-gate incident and passed off as victims of October 20th, 2020 was not from the Lekki toll-gate incident, and it was imported from ICINigeria.org during a 2018 play themed ‘Blood on the Flag Challenge’ by the Nigerian Christian Corper’s Fellowship. Further, that although his group had refuted it, it wasn’t believed and is still being passed on as one of the images from the Lekki incident.
He also gave another example of a lady who was reportedly killed along with two other friends at the Lekki Toll Gate by soldiers. However, the Army had discovered that the lady, known as Lucy Adu truly attended the protest at the Lekki toll plaza. While, it was unclear the exact day she attended the protest, various accounts purportedly originating from a statement by Lucy’s friend reveal that Lucy had reportedly boarded a commercial motorcycle along with other passengers. This motorcycle ran into a commercial truck, resulting in three fatalities seen in the video. This information was disseminated through the twitter handle of IK Osakioduwa, a celebrity.
A tweet by way of a clip showing an anonymous soldier purportedly shooting with what appeared to be a tank mounted 50-calibre machine gun also went viral. This video suggested that the soldier was a member of the Nigerian Army, who was shooting at peaceful and unharmed protesters at the Lekki TollGate. The witness debunked this misinformation by stating that a 50-calibre weapon is an anti-aircraft weapon used to bring aircrafts down. He asserted that it was unimaginable for such a weapon to be fired directly. He confirmed that from investigations, the video was doctored. That, although the audio seemed to have been taken from the actual Lekki toll shooting incident where soldiers were actually seen shooting in the air with what seemed to be AK-47s apparently to intimidate protesters, note our words, who kept shouting ‘#EndSARS”. However, the video footage of a soldier allegedly shooting with high caliber machine gun was presumably from a fire fight with insurgents in the North Eastern part of Nigeria.
The witness also gave the example of a rumored death of a certain Youth Service Corps member. He noted that viral reports/images had it that a young corps member (Steve Abbey) was shot in the stomach at the Lekki protest ground on the 20th, amid claims that he died during the shoot-out with his last words being ‘Peace and Unity’. However, the rumor was debunked with the person in question coming forward to
clarify that the photograph in question was taken during a stage play earlier in the year through his twitter page.
Also allegedly rumored was the death of one Oke Obi, who was said to have been hit in the neck by a stray bullet and later died from his wounds because the ambulance sent to help him was prevented from giving medical aid by the Nigerian Army. The
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witness however noted that this story had been refuted by Oke’s brother who noted that Oke was stabbed by hoodlums who broke into their home at Makinde Police Barracks, Mafoluku Oshodi, Lagos. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital where he was taken to by his mother and brother.
The witness also intimated that the rumored death of one Iraoya Godwin by a gunshot wound to his stomach during the protest on the mainland. However the alleged deceased person’s friend, one Fajensimi took to his twitter page to inform people that Godwin was very much alive. Further, a video was recorded at Godwin’s residence to show that he was life.
Lastly, the witness denied the allegation by a Nigerian, one Catherine Umeh, (a.k.a. DJ Switch) that the Nigerian Army was looking for her, in view of her involvement in the incident of the 20th of October, 2020 at the Lekki, Toll-Gate, Lagos. He noted that he had personally met not less than eight (8) people who attended the #EndSARS protest at Lekki on their own terms. He also noted that he had met doctors who were at the protests and that they allegedly observed that the injuries were not consistent with gunshot injuries.
• Testimony On Number People Allegedly Killed During the Protests
The witness queried the various figures that were being bandied about as the figure of the number of people, who were killed during the Lekki incident on 20th October, 2020. He noted that from various accounts, the number ranged from 15, to 35 and as high as 78 individuals who were reportedly shot dead. He noted that after a considerable detailed search of hospitals and mortuaries in the State, Governor Jide Sanwo-Olu confirmed that only one life was confirmed lost in connection to the Lekki incident. He further noted that according to staff of Reddington Hospital, the death of the unnamed individual was caused by blunt force trauma, which occurred on Admiralty Road, Lekki. In addition, another body with a gunshot wound was deposited in a mortuary in Yaba and investigation was still ongoing to see if this is occurred during the Lekki incident.
The witness indicated the displeasure of the Nigerian Army about two things:
i. The denial of the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu that didn’t request for the intervention of the Army, when in actual fact; he called the Chief of Army Staff as well as the G.O.C. 81 Division and asked for intervention because the Police had been overwhelmed. However, the Commander, 9 Brigade could not intervene because the proper procedure was not followed, the Governor was asked to call the Chief of Army Staff and the G.O.C. as the G.O.C. was on
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assignment in Abuja at the time. He also noted that it was the reasonable and proper action to take, given the circumstance.
ii. The second issue was when the Governor said two (2) people died. While the Army agreed that one person died at Admiralty Road (which is about 3km from the Lekki Toll-Gate) due to blunt force trauma, however, the second person who died, and whose corpse was taken to the mortuary in Yaba by the police allegedly had a run
in with the Police, taking into consideration the distance between Lekki to Yaba, and reports of sporadic firing in Yaba.
Conclusion of Examination-in-Chief
The witness criticized the extent to which unscrupulous people were willing to go to cast the Nigerian Army in bad light even when it was performing its constitutional duties. He noted that generally, the Nigerian Army and especially Brigadier General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, had given some special directives in the conduct of all Army operations. He mentioned that indiscipline was frowned at. Investigations involving indiscipline by a soldier was investigated immediately by the military Police and sometimes intelligence handled it. Within hours, the Officer is disciplined and in some cases dismissed. However, unlike the great wave the allegations are given when reported, the eventual resolution of the incident/report is never given such wide publicity.
The witness also reiterated that the Chief of Army staff specifically stated that no soldier should molest civilians or defaulters will be severely sanctioned and that this directive was still being carried out till that day. Most importantly, women and children were to be protected at all cost. While ‘femicide’ was frowned at, infrastructure and businesses were to be protected against arson and looting. He further noted that it was unfortunate that the Army found itself in a situation where people whom they were sworn to protect saw them as enemies. The witness opined that most of the perceptions/mindset/opinion by members of the public towards the Nigerian Army was as a result of ignorance on the Army’s set up and operations. He emphatically stated that the Nigerian Army would never turn against the citizens of Nigeria and will always do its best to protect the integrity of the country against external aggression as well as civil insurrection.
• One (1) blank expended ammunition, one (1) blank unexpended ammunition, one (1) live expended ammunition and one (1) live unexpended ammunition were treated as evidence together and marked Exhibit A.
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• An unmarked flash drive was admitted and marked Exhibit B.
• Lagos State Government’s Press release of 20th October, 2020 under the hand of Gboyega Akosile, Chief Press Officer, on “the imposition of 24-hours curfew as violence creeps into #EndSARS .protest in Lagos State” was admitted and marked Exhibit C.
• Rejected Judgment (tendered at cross examination) of the Federal High Court with Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1939/2019 delivered by Justice R. M. Aikawa marked and admitted as Rejected Exhibit 1.
Cross Examination of Brig. Gen. A.I. Taiwo by Mr. Owonikoko, SAN
Mr Owonikoko, SAN referred the witness to Section 5(2) of the 1999 Constitution which defines the power of the State and what it could not do to overreach the federal authority. In response the witness agreed that by the power of the State could not impede or prejudice the exercise of power in Mr President the commander-in-chief and as such, when it came to the role of the Armed Forces, the Governor of the State could not veto or depart from the directives of Mr. President or persons representing Mr. President.
Mr. Owonikoko, SAN then referred the witness to Section 218 (1) of the 1999 Constitution ( CFRN 1999 as Amended) which was in relation to the command and operational use of the Armed Forces which provides:
“The power of the President as the Commander in Chief of
the Armed Forces of the Federation shall include power to
determine the operational use of the Armed Forces of the
He then asked the witness to confirm whether the ultimate commander of the Armed Forces was Mr. President, to which he responded YES and explained further that all Officers serving either above or below the rank of the witness took final orders from Mr. President.
The witness further explained that there is a body known as the State Security Council in every state of the Federation, which interfaced with the State on security. He further confirmed that the Council consisted of a representative of the Nigerian Army in a State, The Nigerian Navy, The Nigerian Air force, The Director of SSS, The Commissioner of Police and The Attorney General as members while Mr.. Governor
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presides over that Council. The witness stated that he was not privy to the meeting of the Council which held on the 19th of October, 2020. The witness then confirmed that he knew Brigadier General Musa Etsu Ndangi who was the Commander of 9 Brigade as well as a member of the Lagos State Security Council.
The witness noted that he was unaware that the state security council had determined that circumstances warranted that a curfew be declared given the state of security as at the 19th of October, 2020. He however agreed that he was aware of circumstances that led the State Government to declare a curfew on the 20th October 2020 . When asked to itemize four (4) or five (5) Intel that convinced the witness that the declaration of a curfew on the 20th was necessary, he listed the following:
i. The occupation of many highways by hoodlums who were committing unspeakable crimes;
ii. The looting of businesses especially on the Mainland, Lagos; iii. The looting, destruction, burning of Police Stations such as the Orile, Ajeromi and Ojo Police Stations; and
iv. The carting away of arms and ammunition.
The witness stated that as of the 20th of October 2020, there was an active situation in which policemen who were on and off duty were being maimed and killed, at Apple Junction, Festac, Lagos. Although the witness noted that as at the 20th of October, the Lekki toll-gate did not experience incidents he previously mentioned. However, he received information that there was an attempt to vandalize Oriental Hotel which is adjacent to the Lekki Toll–gate. He further noted that based on intelligence, the Lekki Toll-Gate was not a place of interest in terms of traffic, however, it was a thoroughfare for the troops. That, that was the only way they could go and deploy at the Epe, Ibeju-Lekki and Sango-tedo axis of Lagos state.
In addition, the witness confirmed that prior to the #EndSARS .protests the Lagos State had declared other curfews in the State, in 2020. He also noted that during the pandemic, Lagos State Government had first declared a curfew in the State before the President’s own declaration of a nationwide curfew followed, which would override that which was declared by any other person, as it was part of the Management Protocol for the COVID-19 pandemic. The witness further stated that in terms of operational command in Lagos, Major General Godwin Umelo was the highest military Officer and that the Governor of Lagos State had no powers or right to direct any Army Officer or men because he was not a Commander or senior Officer in the Army.
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The witness however denied that the Chief of Army Staff gave the GOC 81 Division the signal for the military to enforce the curfew. He clarified that the signal was given to restore normalcy, law and order. The witness also clarified that Lieutenant Colonel Bello was the Commander of 65 Battalion and a member of the 81 Division, Bonny Camp Formation and that he was taking his orders from him. He further noted that the Bonny Camp formation is made up of many formations called Headquarters and the Battalion. In addition, the Army unit who were on their way to the Victoria Island/ Epe axis to restore normalcy was led by Lieutenant Colonel Bello.
The witness disagreed that the original #EndSARS protesters who engaged in valid, lawful protests to effect some type of positive response from government and whose demands Mr. President acceded to were not hoodlums at the time, until these things got out of hand. He based this assertion on the fact that when the looting and mayhem started, it was done in the name of #EndSARS. That the Women, men and children who were looting, carrying bags of looted items on their heads were shouting ‘#EndSARS’. He further noted that there was no way to differentiate them from the original protesters, and they did not have uniforms. The witness however agreed that to the best of his knowledge, the 5 for 5 demands/concessions made by the #EndSARS protesters, whom the government recognized had not been reversed as at that day and they still stood as accepted demands.
The witness confirmed that the demands of some of the members of the #EndSARS movement were taken to Mr. President in Abuja by Mr. Governor. He also agreed that his assertion where he stated that any protest which exceeded three (3) days in Nigeria was bound to be hijacked by hoodlums was not a theory per se, as it was tested in Nigeria. He noted that he was speaking from experience of what occurred back in the 80’s and 90’s during protests. However, he agreed that in Hong Kong protests lasting over 8months defeat the 3 day theory.
In respect of the deployment of troops during operations, the witness disagreed with Mr Owonikoko SAN, noting that when troops were deployed on operations, they were ‘briefed’ and that ‘debriefing’ is done after the operation to assess ‘the lessons learnt.’ He also agreed with the Mr Owonikoko SAN that the Army personnel actually got to Lekki toll-gate, and that their interaction did not involve anything that will be counted as breach of rules of engagement. On the issue of whether there was a report of any fatality or casualty after the debriefing, the witness responded in the negative.
The witness explained that Phases 1-3 of the Internal Security Operation in terms of deployment of Armed Forces basically involved observation, monitoring, training and readiness for deployment while Phase 4 involved the actual deployment to especially hot places that had problems, patrols and so on. He noted that the Army was currently in Phase 4 in Lagos State. He testified that before Phase 4 is activated, the Governor
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would have sought the Army’s permission or made a few calls or passed some letters around to the President but in the instant case, the Governor called the Chief of Staff to the President. He agreed that although the Governor had called the Chief of Army staff to the President, it would have been a request, as opposed to a demand. The President had the final decision in acceeding to the request by determining whether the request was warranted at the time. The witness further agreed that if Mr. President had considered that it was unnecessary to deploy the military, the Governor was in no position to direct the Army to go out.
Cross Examination of Brig. Gen. A.I. Taiwo by Mr. Rotimi Seriki
Mr. Seriki, began by asking the witness whether he had had cause to pass through the Lekki toll plaza at any point since the existence of the toll plaza and prior to the day of the incident. The witness responded positively and agreed that on each occasion he observed that the toll managers had their staff positioned in the tolling posts, selling tickets to vehicles that drive up to the toll gate. He further agreed that on the 20th of October 2020, the Army arrived at the Lekki toll plaza after 4pm when the curfew was initially supposed to take off.
The witness noted that the Army had been at the toll plaza for perhaps, 1 hour 20 minutes from when they arrived at 4pm on the 20th October until midnight of the night of 20th. Lastly, when asked by the Mr Seriki if throughout the period of the stay of the Army at the toll plaza, he observed any staff of the toll plaza managers either in the cubicle or within the vicinity of where the protesters were, he stated that he doubted that anybody would have been there.
3.11 Cross Examination of Brig. Gen. A.I. Taiwo by Mr. A. Olumide-Fusika, SAN
He asked the witness if for example, he, (Mr. Fusika) were going on the street and he was being attacked or robbed, the witness would intervene, whether or not he was dressed in uniform. The witness responded that he definitely would. He further noted that he need not wait for anyone to tell him to respond before he would, especially where it was a situation of life and death. Even where it was not necessarily a life and death situation and he was even a civilian, he would still protect Mr. Fusika.
In addition, he agreed that where the roles were reversed, Mr. Fusika as a civilian could intervene if he saw Brig. Gen. Taiwo in distress. He emphasized that it was the human thing to do. When asked whether he understood the difference between such hypothetical situation and organizational deployment, the witness confirmed that he did. He understood the difference in somebody telling him to take his troops to a particular place without actually following certain procedures.
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The witness stated that although the Governor made a request for the intervention of the Nigerian Army, he did not give any instruction. He however confirmed that the owner of SPAR asked for intervention when his place was being looted on the 21st of October, 2020. He stated that the owner had called him, introduced himself, and informed him of the situation that was developing around his business, begged and requested that he ensure that the place was not burnt. He further stated that he had neither met nor spoken with him and he might have obtained his phone number from someone. In addition, he admitted to getting such requests from different people.
The witness further stated that after getting the request, the troops and himself deployed there in their uniforms and with their weapons. He personally went from Shoprite, Lekki Circle Mall. The witness however explained that the distress call was made after the curfew had been activated, and that if for example, he had received the request for assistance/help on the 14th of August, 2020 he would have referred him to the Police for assistance. The witness further explained that once the Army or the Armed Forces had been deployed, the Police had to take a back seat immediately. Further, that it is only in Phase 5 (the stage of withdrawal) that the situation is handed over to the Police. In addition, all looters, rioters, killers, murderers, rapists arrested during internal operation 4 (Phase 4) must be handed over to the Police for prosecution. The witness disagreed the assertion that Nigerian Army would not follow the rules of engagement, where it received requests from friends. He asserted that it was an assumption reached by Mr. Fusika.
The witness confirmed that the provision of Section 217(2) (C) of the 1999 CFRN (As Amended) justified the intervention of the Army wherever there was a riot.
When Mr. Fusika, SAN sought to tender a Judgment of the Federal High Court with Suit No: FHC/L/CS/1939/2019 delivered by Justice R. M. Aikawa, the Panel rejected it on the ground that Mr Fusika SAN failed to show the nexus between the issue contained in the Judgment and the Lekki Toll Plaza issue, which was subject of investigation by the Panel.
When Mr Fusika SAN attempted to cross-examine the witness on ‘Operation Positive Identification’ which sought to find out the identification of foreign persons who were committing acts of terrorism in the ranks of Boko Haram, the panel asked him to link it to the issue of the Lekki tollgate incident.
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SUMMARY OF THE PROCEEDINGS IN RESPECT OF THE LEKKI TOLL-GATE INCIDENT ON THE 21ST OF NOVEMBER, 2020._
• Akin Elegbede with Afolabi Seriki for Lekki Concession Company.
• A. J. Owonikoko, with Olukayode Enitan SAN, alongside I. J Okechukwu Esq., Y. Gbadebo and Joshua John, Esq. for the Lagos State Government.
• Akinlolu Kehinde with Ogbeni Biola Oyebanji, Col. Michael Ege Elong Rtd. and Major T. O. Ehicheoya for the Nigerian Army.
• Adesina Ogunlana with Lateef Abdulsalam Esq. and Ayo Ademiluyi Esq. Joan Ohwaeuono Esq. for the following #EndSARS .protesters, Victoria Oniru, Dabira Ayukwu, Kamsichukwu Perpetual Ibeh, Olugbe Ofoluwafo, Samuel Isah, James Akhigbe, Nicholas Anthony Okpe, Patrick Okala and Damilola Adedayo.
• Abioye Akerele with Bernard Oniga for the Nigerian Bar Association.
• Adeyinka Olumide Fusika with Rabiat Fawehinmi-Morakinyo and Onidebe Effiong for a group of victims consisting of Raimi Olumide, Solomon Samuel, Olamilekan Sanusi, Ayodeji Beckley, Samuel Asala, Agbese Isiawu and Onileowo Legend.
• O.E. Bamgbala with John Uthman for for Lucky Philemon.
Continuation of the Cross Examination of Brig. Gen. A.I. Taiwo by Mr. A. Olumide-Fusika, SAN
When asked to confirm that the justification he gave for the Army’s involvement in the #EndSARS protests was partly because he stated that the Police was overwhelmed and that police stations were being burnt, the witness confirmed that he stated that three (3) police stations to wit: Ajegunle, Orile and Apple Junction were burnt while others had their armories looted. He however denied being aware that the Inspector General of Police had put out a publication stating that the police was overwhelmed.
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When also asked whether three Police Stations being burnt amounted/translated to the fact that the police force was overwhelmed, the witness responded by stating that Orile, Layeni, Ilasamaja, Ikotun, Igando, Makinde, Onipanu, Ebute Ero, Pen Cinema, Cele, Alade, Makoko, Amuwo Odofin, Surulere Police Stations were also burnt before 2pm on the 20th of October, 2020. Mr. Olumide-Fusika SAN, then asked the witness if he realized that the statements he had just made were capable of being fact
The witness then confirmed that apart from Lagos, Abuja and Rivers, other states also had the #EndSARS protest. He however disagreed that prior to the invitation of the Nigerian Army, it was impracticable for the Police to have expended its own resources, by moving Policemen from other locations to Lagos, because those other places were also on fire. He also noted that, the basis for the protest in the first place was the Police, especially the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
When further asked to confirm that another reason why the Army was invited was because of the burning of the Oba’s palace, the witness agreed that the said incident occurred on the 21st of October, 2020 as opposed to the 20th. Additionally, Mr. Olumide-Fusika SAN, noted that the burning of the Lagos State High Court and his deployment of troops to SPAR could not have been one of the reasons for the deployment of troops in respect of the #EndSARS protests as they all occurred on the 21st. Mr. Olumide-Fusika SAN maintained that the witness could not allege that law and order had broken down and those were the reasons for requiring the assistance of the Army, as those incidents occurred after the incident at the Lekki toll gate.
Mr. Olumide-Fusika SAN then put it to the witness that there was no emergency or overwhelming situation that required the presence of the Army to be at Lekki toll gate on the 20th OCTOBER 2020, because even the beheading of the policeman which he showed clips of occurred on the 21st of October at the Eti-Osa Jakande area. Moreover, the victims and the police stations were yet to be identified by the Army. The witness confirmed that all the video clips he showed to the public were obtained from the internet/ open sources, and that it was the factual basis to justify his narration that there was a breakdown of law and order in Lagos State. While the witness stated that his operatives who were deployed all over Lagos only corroborated the fact that stations were burnt, they didn’t corroborate the names of the stations burnt or the names of the Officers that were affected.
The witness asserted that he does not tell lies. When asked whether he was aware that the Army had denied being at the tollgate, the witness responded by stating that the first statement issued was borne out of the fact that the Army did not have the
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full facts available at the time; while the second was because nobody was ‘sent to the Lekki toll gate to break up any protest’. The witness denied being at the toll gate.
The witness denied being aware of the fact that because of the denial by the Army that the Army was not present at the toll-gate on the 21st October 2020 the Attorney General of the Federation had also publicly said that if anybody was there in military uniforms, they must have been hoodlums. He also denied being aware of the subsequent admission by the Governor of seeing a footage that showed that the Army was there on the 24th October 2020. The witness further denied being aware of the HQ Nigerian Army’s Twitter handle as he was not on Twitter. When asked if he was not speaking for the Army, the witness stated that he was there to give a personal account as the senior Officer on ground on that day, as well as for the 81 Division. Mr. Olumide-Fusika SAN, then put it to the witness that as at the 21st of October, 2020 the Nigerian Army’s Twitter handle still carried the information that there was no military presence at the tollgate.
The witness confirmed knowing one Major Osoba Olaniyi, who also put out a second statement admitting that the Army was present, and that they shot, but not at protesters. When further asked to clarify what his intelligence was behind the burning of Clarit Plaza, the witness stated that the investigation revealed during the crisis, that the owner of the Plaza spoke to the Baale to help him ensure that his property was not torched. Both parties agreed to the sum of Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N200, 000). However, the payment was made to the Baale’s brother who only gave the Baale N40, 000. This made the Baale unhappy. The property was eventually burnt on the night of the 21st of October, 2020.
When asked if the matter was reported to the Police, the witness stated that as at the time, the Police were unavailable, and did not return until the following week. However, that incident and other matters were handed over to the police on the 23rd 24th of October, 2020, when the police came to pick up the looters. He further agreed that while the identity of the people who torched the Clarit Plaza was still unknown, they could still be unraveled. The witness attributed the torching of the Orile Police Station to general unrest and lawlessness. He however denied being aware that there was another version (the killing of a member of the community by the D.P.O. of the Station) which was totally unconnected to the #EndSARS protest.
The witness agreed that it was not the first time that police stations would be burnt in Nigeria and that soldiers were not always deployed each time they were burnt. When asked if there were any other uniformed organization apart from the Army on ground at Lekki, the witness noted that the Nigeria Police were around on the left part of the toll gate, guarding the Oriental hotel. The witness stated that the Army
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started to shoot into the air by 6:43pm. He vehemently denied that the Army started to shoot under the cover of darkness.
He further stated that apart from men in uniform, the Army left the base with vehicles, rifles and guns, which could contain either blank or live bullets. The witness also stated that they went to the scene with live ammunition and water. The witness agreed that the video did not show the portion where the protesters were allegedly stoning and attacking the Army because the video had panned out at about 6:55pm. He also stated that the troops were the ones who gave water to the protesters and re-emphasized that he was not physically at the toll-gate. He denied the assertion of Mr. Olumide-Fusika SAN, that the people sharing water were Navy Officers trying to get passage to go and save a vessel since their Dockyard is in Apapa. He also noted that while the video clip did not actually show where the Army gave out water and were being attacked and stoned, it showed the aggressive movement being made. He also insisted that the Officers were indeed pelted and stoned just as they dismounted, which warranted them to fire blanks into the air. He also obtained his information from the monitoring he carried out and he did not get to the scene until the day after.
The witness impressed upon the Panel the fact that the Army employed non-kinetic measures and used blank ammunition. He noted that the troops advanced from the Ozumba Mbadiwe direction, moved from Oriental Hotel toward the toll gate and then dispersed the crowd toward Lekki first roundabout. He confirmed from the LCC footage, that the troops did not confront the protesters immediately. He further stated that by the time the troops fired into the air, the hoodlums high tailed it. He noted that none of the protesters/hoodlums were arrested. He further noted that only one Officer, Major Saheed, was injured. The said Officer got hit by a stone to the mouth. He suffered a cut to the lip and was treated at the Military Reception Center.
Brig. Gen. Taiwo stated that Lt. Col S.O. Bello, the Commanding Officer, 65 Garrison was on ground. He was later joined by Brig. Gen. F. O. Omata joined him. When asked who gave the order to shoot, he said that the commander on ground gave the order to shoot in the air. He stated that when he got to the toll gate the next day, he stated that he didn’t see any signs of gunshots, but destruction.
Mr. Olumide Fusika, SAN countered this assertion by informing the witness that he had photographs taken by him showing gun marks on objects including including loudspeakers. In response, the witness requested that the photographs would have to be subjected to forensic tests if he were to believe they were actually gunshot indentations. The witness further denied that the Nigerian Army could not have tried to clean up the scene. He also denied that Major General Omata was the one who
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later came to stop the troops from shooting. He noted that General Omata was only there after the shooting in the air occurred.
The witness agreed that he saw the LCC footage showing a bon fire/ flare, but denied that the bon fire was lit with the consent of the troops. He maintained that no one died at the toll-gate and no injuries were sustained to his knowledge. While he denied that the Governor in some of his interactions with the Press mentioned that seven (7) protesters were admitted in different hospitals, notably Grand View and Reddington hospitals in Lagos, he agreed that two (2) people died. He noted that one person is alleged to have died from blunt force trauma to the head on Admiralty way while the other died at Yaba. He disagreed that although the individual died on Admiralty way which formed part of the Army’s corridor all the way to Epe, the death had no connection to the Lekki toll gate.
While the witness agreed that while the troops were shooting in the air, people were running he noted that the Governor was probably misinformed as to the number of wounded people. He also disagreed that the only thing the LCC footage proved was that the Army got there during daytime, but started their operation at night. He also noted that BCC reported the incident on the 21st while CNN in later days also reported it. He didn’t see any of the other reports as he and other soldiers were busy. He denied that the Army did not present the other ones because they were unpalatable to its narrative. In addition, he was uninterested in seeing the CNN footage.
Cross examination of Brig. Gen. A. I. Taiwo by Mr. Adeshina Ogunlana
When asked what military men of his level were called, he responded that they would be called An Officer and gentlemen. When further asked what it takes to be referred as such, the witness responded that such a person would need to exhibit the highest level of chivalry, honor and integrity. The witness noted that Lt. Col. Bello arrived at the Lekki toll gate before Gen. Omata. He further noted that Gen. Omata was there not because Lt. Col. Bello could not command well, but because the entire 81 Division Garrison had been given the joint responsibility of securing that sector. They were to carryout joint patrols all the way to Ibeju-Lekki to Badore. In addition, both Officer s in question went to their units with their respective forces.
The witness stated that the reason why the GOC and he were calling Gen. Omata to verify what was going on at Lekki was because the GOC was not in town at the time, while Gen. Omata was already on ground. He further stated that the reason why he called Lt. Col. Bello was to confirm the true state of affairs, as he had been getting
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conflicting reports from social media and the internet. He stated that some of the conflicting reports included live streaming of shootings, people screaming that they were being killed and that people were being killed. Lt. Col. Bello however assured him that while two (2) people fainted and had been revived, no one had died.
The witness also confirmed from his phone that he called Lt. Col. Bello at about 7.35pm. When asked whether Gen. Omata was not yet on ground at that time, the witness noted that he spoke with Gen. Omata several times using Lt. Col. Bello’s phone. He also stated that by several calls, Gen. Omata told his that the situation was not as tensed as it was being reported. Further, that they had cleared the entire place around 8.45pm and were on their way back to their unit. The witness confirmed that after the incident at the Lekki toll-gate, the particular battalion as commanded by Lt. Col. Bello went back to their units. He stated that they later went back to Epe around 11pm. He also agreed that the LCC footage did not show that the toll gate was being burnt.
It is the belief of the witness that the toll gate was burnt between 9-10 pm by hoodlums, not protesters. The witness vehemently denied giving the directive for the activation of phase 4 of the Internal Security on the 20th of October, 2020. He noted that giving such order was not within his powers. Only the Chief of Army Staff has the authority to send such a/any signal. He stated that the signal for the activation of Phase 4 was given at about 3pm. The witness stated that he was sure of the things he was saying. He agreed that there had to be a breakdown of law and order beyond the capacity of the civil police before the activation of Phase 4, and that the purpose of activating phase 4 is to deploy troops outside the Barracks, in order to quell disturbances, riots, insurrection and dire situations. He agreed that the need for Rules of Engagement was to ensure professionalism, guide the conducts of both Officers and troops and to prevent the misuse of lethal force.
When asked the reasonableness in arming soldiers with blank bullets in the activation of Phase 4, the witness noted that soldiers would have been given both blank and live bullets because the Army knew that hoodlums had infiltrated the midst of peaceful protesters. He agreed that the troops under Lt. Col. Bello were armed with blank and live bullets and that while live bullets could kill, blanks do not kill. The witness noted that it was impossible for the LCC footage to show where the army negotiated with the protesters before shooting into the air, because the troops were being attacked and pelted with stones.
The witness agreed that while the soldiers in Lagos State operated Phase 4 in many places all over the state ensuring security, only its presence in Lekki was controversial. He clarified that he told the Governor that the Army was displeased with him because he denied asking for the intervention of the Armed Forces, when he actually
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requested for it. The witness insinuated that the statement of the Governor was not a lie, but a misunderstanding of his orders. He confirmed that he obtained his videos from open sources which proved credible, because his operators confirmed them.
Mr. Ogunlana requested that one of the videos shown by the witness, in which a voice was heard shouting “Jesu Jesu, they’re shooting, they’re shooting” be replayed. Although the witness initially, denied that a certain person was heard saying “shooting at protesters”, he later confirmed hearing it. Mr. Ogunlana also requested that video ‘20201020.wa0313’ of Hq81D file, where people were heard saying soldiers have killed someone be shown to the witness. The witness however declared that while someone could be seen lying on the ground with what looked like blood, the video was fake. He also disagreed that the Nigerian Army did not have its own recordings.
While the witness agreed that the summons that brought him before the Panel was to enable him give evidence on the Lekki toll incident of 20/10/2020 he disagreed that not less than 90% of his testimony before the Panel was outside the incident. He also noted that the people the troops met at the toll gate were not in breach of the curfew. He further noted that the troops were not there to enforce the curfew. The witness stated that the General Officer Commanding, 81 Division did not have the phone number of the Governor, and he was also not a member of the Lagos State Security Council. However, Brig. Gen. Musa Etsu Ndagi, the Brigade Commander, 9 Brigade, was a member of the Council. He also confirmed that Brig. Gen. Musa Etsu Ndagi in his Affidavit confirmed that the Governor called him.
Lastly, the witness confirmed that law and order had broken down. He also confirmed that the police had been overpowered on the 20th of October 2020. However, if the Governor had declared a curfew on the 18th or 19th, it would not have been reasonable because at the time, violence had not crept into the activities of the hoodlums. While there were one or two killings, the situation had not degenerated.
Cross- Examination of Brig. Gen. A. I. Taiwo by Mr. Bernard Oniga, by mandate of the President of the Nigerian Bar Association on Grounds of Public Interest.
The witness confirmed that the Army was not on a mission to the toll gate, but to ensure normalcy on the Eti-Osa to Epe corridor. He noted that the GOC was the one with the responsibility of exercising discretion in whether to use an alternative route since he knew that protesters were at the Lekki toll gate. However, once the troops arrived at the toll gate, they were attacked. He confirmed that the troops responded to the attacks. When further asked if it was the habit of the Nigerian Army to respond
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with gunshots when being pelted with stones, the witness responded that if they were being pelted with stones, the only response was gunshots.
He clarified that every civilian is their brother and sister, and that they were civilians before joining the Army. Further, after a period they became civilians again. He disagreed that the wanton loss of lives and properties which occurred on the 21st of October, 2020 was in response to the way the Military handled the matter at the toll gate. He noted that the loss of lives and destruction had started to occur prior to the 20th of October, 2020, especially to Police Officer s. He also believed that the loss of lives occurred mainly on the Eti-Osa to Epe corridor and they were basically cult wars, score settling and lynching.
Lastly, the witness maintained that there was no nexus between the torching of the Jakande Shopping Mall, SPAR, Clarit Plaza which occurred on the 21st of October, 2020 and the Lekki incident, which happened on the 20th October 2020. Further, that given the same set of circumstances that occurred on the 20th, he and the Military would act in the same manner.
The witness was discharged. In addition, the application by counsel to the LCC, for the LCC to take possession of the Lekki toll plaza in order to evaluate the extent of the damage done and enable the presentation of their claims to their insurers was denied. The proceedings were subsequently adjourned to the 27th of November, 2020.
When the matter (Nigerian Army Summons) came up again on the 30th of January, 2021 for Hearing, Mr. Olukayode Enitan, SAN applied that all matters involving the Nigerian Army be adjourned, possibly for two (2) weeks; while Summonses are again served on the new Chief of Army Staff, due to the change in the leadership of the Nigerian Army. This, he noted was to enable the Army be present before the Panel, to present their specific responses to the cases by the several Petitioners and to enable them speak on the bullets which were brought before the Panel. Mr. Ogunlana however opposed the Application on the ground that while there was indeed a change in leadership of the Army, Colonel Bello and General Omata, who were participants and were at the scene of the incident were still available but had refused/ignored the Panel. He indicated his readiness to continue with the hearing of the matter. On his part, Mr. Olumide Fusika, SAN, aligned himself with the position of Mr. Olukayode Enitan, SAN on the premise that the indulgence to be granted by the Panel will show whether it was the Nigerian Army as an institution or its leadership that has a problem with appearing before the Panel.
Mr. Bamgbala on his part posited that in as much as he is moved by Mr. Enitan’s comment, his grouse is with the fact that his Client suffers a lot of inconvenience each
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time the Panel has to adjourn the proceedings, as he is based in Kaduna. He subsequently aligned himself with Mr. Ogunlana’s position.
The Panel subsequent to hearing the arguments of Counsel on the issue, decided that it would give the Nigerian Army the last opportunity of an adjournment for it to reconsider and change its previous attitude of ignoring the Summons issued on it, in the interest of fair hearing. Further, fresh Summonses were directed to be issued on Officers who were expected to conclude the case of the Nigerian Army and further proceedings were adjourned to the 27th February, 2021 for the conclusion of the evidence of the Nigerian Army. Furthermore, the Ruling of the Panel was to apply to other petitions against the Nigerian Army listed before the Panel for the day’s proceedings.
EVIDENCE OF LEKKI CONCESSIONS COMPANY IN RESPECT OF THE LEKKI TOLL-GATE INCIDENT OF 20TH OCTOBER, 2020.
The evidence of the Lekki Concessions Company began with the CCTV footage in respect of the incident which occurred at the Lekki Admiralty Toll- Gate, (Sand Fill), Lagos.
The following appearances were entered in respect of the Summons dated 28th October, 2020 issued to the Lekki Concessions Company:
• Rotimi Seriki with Omotayo Omosehin and Akin Elegbede for Lekki Concession Company.
• J. Owonikoko, SAN along with Olukayode Enitan, SAN Joshua Tony Esq. and Yetunde Olabode Esq. for the Lagos State Government.
• Adeshina Ogunlana appearing with Lateef Abdulsalam, Ayodele Ademiluyi and Peller Ogba for the following ENDSARS Protesters: Victoria Oniru, Dabira Ayuku, Kamsinchukwu Perpertual, Olugbe Ofoluwape, Samuel Isa, James Akhigbe, Nicholas Anthony Okpe, Patrick Okala and Damilola Adedayo.
• Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika SAN with Rabiat Fawehinmi-Morakinyo and Onaolapo Obilade appearing for Raimi Olumide, Solomon Samuel, Olamilekan Sanusi, Ayodeji Beckley, Samuel Asala, Agbese Isiawu and Onileowo Legend.
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• Footage of the event at the Lekki Toll Plaza on the 20th October, 2020 was admitted and marked as Exhibit D.
• A flash drive tendered by Mr. Adeshina Ogunlana Esq. was admitted and marked as EXHIBIT F.
Summary of the Cross-Examination of Mr. Abayomi Omomuwasan, Managing Director, Lekki Concessions Company by Mr. Adeshina Ogunlana
Mr. Omomuwasan stated that he is the Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Lekki Concession Company. He joined the LCC sometime in September, 2019. He is only aware of five (5) Managing Directors that have been appointed prior to him. He stated that the company was founded around 2006. He has information regarding the incorporation of the company. He confirmed that the LCC is wholly owned by the Lagos State Government. He stated that the Directors are appointed by the Lagos State Government. They include the Commissioner for Finance, Commissioner for Transport, Attorney General/Hon. Commissioner for Justice, Hon. Commissioner for Budget and Economy, Special Adviser (Works and Infrastructure), two independent Directors and himself. He further stated that the Independent Directors are one Obafemi George and Olusola Oworu (Mrs).
The witness confirmed saying that in order to avoid any form of confrontation, the company sent its staff at the Lekki toll gate a memo on the 20th of October asking them to leave the facility. He further confirmed that when the announcement for the curfew came, he sent a memo directing the staff to leave the facility upon the announcement of the curfew. He agreed that the Lekki Toll gate had been totally occupied by the protesters. He noted that the LCC is into the business of infrastructure development and toll road management. He affirms that the company collects tolls. He states that he is unaware of any other road apart from the roads which he manages, where people have to pay a certain amount of money to go through. He further stated that he is unaware that the LCC is the only company on the Island which has a franchise for using any road.
The witness denied being aware of any protest/demonstrations against his company prior to 2020. He however admitted to being aware that in the past, Nigerians had gathered at the toll gate maintained by the LCC protesting against the tolling prior to and on his appointment; specifically 2010-2011. However, he does not recall how long such protests have lasted, neither is he aware of any period where the LCC has requested the assistance/intervention of soldiers.
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He clarified that it was not until the 11th October, 2020 that he knew that the people who visited his company around the 8th of October, 2020 were #EndSARS protesters. He confirmed their identity when some group of people on Twitter alleged that he, together with the Chief Security Officer under the instruction so of the Government of Lagos State were planning to bring in SARS in order to arrest the protesters at the toll gate. He noted that while the protesters left the toll gate on the 21st of October 2020, he does not know how they left the toll gate. While he agrees that the company lost revenue, he is indifferent about the occupation of the LCC by the protesters. He confirmed that upon the occupation of the premises of the company, he communicated this fact to the members of the board of the company, and he does not know how much the company lost in terms of revenue during that period.
The board, through a communication decided to adopt the wait and see approach. The Board did not meet to discuss the occupation of its facilities by the #EndSARS protesters. He stated that he is unable to avail the Panel a record of the Minutes of the communication and the decisions taken before it was done by way of phone call. He confirms that the LCC is a private/limited liability company, despite the directors being government officials. He however explained that although the LCC was originally owned by some private shareholders, the Government of Lagos State bought the company. Sometime in 2014, the Lagos State Government bought the entire stakes in the company, but it still operates as a Limited Liability Company.
He noted that the previous owners were private shareholders such as ARM, a Nigerian company and AYEEN, a South African company and other investors. The witness stated that the LCC pays tax to the Lagos State Government. He confirms that there are plans for the LCC to apply for insurance arising from the incident. He stated that he believes that the Ikoyi toll gate was set ablaze around 8pm, although he cannot be sure as he was not there at the time. He gathered this information from intelligence sources.
He states that the LCC has many and different types of cameras. He does not know the exact number, and he further clarified that he assumed office sometime in September, 2020. The witness confirmed that some of the equipment of the LCC were pilfered and vandalized while the company harvested other cameras and equipment to prevent them from being stolen. A staff, that he did not know his name removed about three (3) cameras and one (1) tolling systems such as the Automatic Vehicular Classification (AVS). However, he is willing to provide the details of the person subsequently. In addition, more than fifteen (15) others such as the tolling system cameras were burnt while the surveillance cameras were not burnt.
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The witness confirmed that he read in the newspapers that the Governor brought some persons to visit the toll gate on the 25th of October, 2020. He was not informed about the visit. To the best of his knowledge, other members of the Board were not also there. He denies knowing the whereabouts of the camera reportedly found and taken away by Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN. The witness confirmed that he was also at the toll gate when the Panel went there. He went with the Panel and also saw Mr. Adesina Ogunlana there too. The witness noted that he has never seen a bullet before, neither has he seen a picture of it as well because he is an accountant.
Mr. Omomuwasan stated that the IT department headed by one Femi Oyinloye is in charge of cameras. Although the surveillance cameras were bought early this year, he does not have their details. He also does not know the difference or comparison in bullet or fish eye cameras because he is not an expert in cameras. He agreed that he had earlier given evidence in respect of the workings of a PTZ camera used by his company; however, he did not install it and he does not man it. They are manned by
a unit comprising about forty (40) staff, headed by one Michael Aina who works in shifts. He is unsure of the staff, who manned the cameras on the 20th of October, 2020 but he could find out from the roster up to the time everyone was asked to go home. Mr. Adesina Ogunlana indicated that he would need the register. He confirmed that the evidence he gave in respect of the PTZ cameras were not from his direct knowledge, but from information obtained from camera footage which self-operate and recorded the incident. He further confirmed that the footage he presented is the same with what was on the PTZ camera.
The camera, the witness stated was not submitted to the Panel as he was not asked to bring it. In addition, the PTZ camera is a self-operating one that is remotely controlled from the control room at the Toll Plaza 2 office located at Chevron. He explained that the camera worked on its own, and that it was set up and designed primarily to capture traffic in areas of interest to the company. The expert of the installing company set it up. He disagreed that on the 20th October 2020 that the camera preset, was due to human interference/handling. He insisted and maintained that the camera which he saw, and that produced the footage for over twenty (20) hours worked sufficiently well. He further opined that there was substantial, abundant, statistical corroboration that could be relied upon to conclude that the camera passed a test.
Upon the objection of Mr. Rotimi Seriki, on the question asked by Mr. Adesina Ogunlana on the panning and irregularities of the PTZ camera which he alleged was probably caused by human intervention, despite the claims of the LCC that it was a self-operating camera the Panel ruled that the relevant portion(s) of the footage complained of by Mr. Adesina Ogunlana would be viewed. This decision was reached
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on the premise that where a party complains of any irregularity, it is only fair and in the course of justice to be allowed to establish such irregularity. To shut such a party out of this fundamental complaint will not be in the best interest of justice and the investigations to be conducted by the Terms of Reference. The proceedings was adjourned to the 11th of December 2020.
Summary of the Continuation of the Cross-Examination of Mr. Abayomi Omomuwasan, Managing Director, Lekki Concessions Company by Mr. Ogunlana on the 11th of December, 2020.
Mr. Adesina Ogunlana began by asking the witness if on the 20th October, 2020 the PTZ camera was manned or it was on preset as usual. Mr. Omomuwasan explained that the camera works on its own, and that it had the capability of working on its own if there was no human being manning it. He further explained that on that day, it could not have been manned as there was no staff on ground after the declaration of the curfew. The witness further clarified that the camera worked on its own up till the time it ended. The witness insisted and maintained that the camera was neither manned nor controlled by a human being.
Mr. Adesina Ogunlana asked the witness to confirm that from 12am till 1:17pm, the average time of the camera’s oscillation was in the range of 15s to 19s, meaning that the camera was not preset. Mr. Ogunlana then requested that the footage be played at the 00:02:45, 00:03:32 to stop at 00:03:49, 00:04:27 to stop at 00:04:48 (21 seconds), 00:04:48 till1pm, 13:16:10, 13:16:41 to stop at 13:17:21, 13:19:00, 13:39:00 (noting that the video remained static for 17 minutes), 13:56:20 for 15 minutes more, 19:01:00 for 34 minutes, 16:19:05, 16:17:28 and 16:20:01.
The witness responded by stating that Mr. Ogunlana’s observations only underscored his position that the camera was not preset. He noted that if it had been manned by a person, such person would have noted it and corrective measures would have been taken. Again, the witness noted that no staff of the LCC was at the toll gate. The witness refused to admit that the PTZ camera was technically faulty and needed to be corrected. He noted that like in any system or a phone, incidents can happen but interventions or corrective measures could be used to correct any discrepancies.
The witness also confirmed that the LCC took measures to remove its equipment like the cameras and so on, because they were being pilfered. When asked to show the portion which captured the moment(s) where equipment’s were being stolen, the witness informed the Panel that the PTZ camera would not have been able to capture the incident because it was a surveillance camera that worked above the canopy. He further noted that no camera would have been able to capture the moment the equipment were being looted. He stated that as at the day when the incident
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occurred, there was no way the LCC would have captured the incident technologically.
When also asked to identify the portion of the footage showing where protesters were pelting the military Officer s with stones, the question was objected to by counsel to LCC and same was upheld by the Panel on the basis that the evidence of the witness is clear as to the fact that he was not at the scene at that material time. The Chairperson also noted that the purpose of the footage presented before the Panel is because the Panel demanded that LCC produce the footage pursuant to the witness summons.
Lastly, the witness noted that the LCC has no local security company working with his company. The witness insisted that the LCC had no local security outfit, despite the Lagos State Governor stating that the LCC indeed had a local security company protecting its properties. He further stated that he had no idea of the footage being referred to by counsel.
Upon its admission, the 2 minutes 19 seconds footage of the Governor’s speech on ARISE News admitted as Exhibit F was played. The witness denied that the Governor stated that the LCC had a local security company. The witness also confirmed that as stated by the Governor, the LCC security cameras were on top of the towers located at 3 locations to wit: Toll Plaza 1 located around Oriental Hotel, Toll Plaza 2 (TP2 located around Chevron) and the Lekki-Ikoyi link Bridge. He also emphasized that those cameras were still at their locations, including the one where the footage tendered as Exhibit D was derived.
When asked about laser cameras, the witness refused to answer. He simply insisted that he had not mentioned anything about laser cameras during his evidence. The witness agreed that at the time of the declaration of the curfew, the LCC sent a memo to its entire staff including those who were at the Lekki (Sand Fill) toll plaza 1 to comply with the curfew. He further confirmed that as at the time the announcement was made by the Governor, those people (staff) were at the toll gate.
The witness further maintained that he had never seen a bullet before. Most especially, he insisted that he had not seen a picture of a bullet before as well. The witness confirmed that the LCC was insured by LASACO and Sunu Assurance, companies with offices in Lagos. he noted that he did not know the people who set the LCC Facilities on fire, as he was not at the scene of the incident on that day. He further noted that it was the company’s internal decision to rely on the footage he tendered, for purposes of claiming insurance.
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When shown bullets admitted as Exhibit A in the Nigerian Army matter, the witness insisted that he did not see objects such as that during the visit of the Panel to the scene of the incident. In addition, he denied knowing what a bullet was when shown pictures of it. Lastly, the witness noted that he would only be able to recognize a gun, depending on the type of gun in question.
Summary of the Cross-Examination of Mr. Abayomi Omomuwasan, Managing Director, Lekki Concessions Company by Mr. Olumide-Fushika, SAN.
The witness confirmed that the footage appeared to have been looking down, due to where it was placed. He also disagreed that the footage was unhelpful as evidence of what happened that day in the night, as to whether people were shooting and other things that were happening. However, he agreed that the camera could not assist in identifying people at the scene. He also explained that at the at the toll plaza 1, there was only one security camera which was installed and mounted high up, for the purposes of seeing traffic only. He also noted that the only cameras mounted at eye level, under the canopy were installed for purposes of identifying plate numbers only. He further confirmed that there had been incidences of people driving through the toll gate without wanting to pay toll fees. He however noted that all the camera does is capture the vehicle moving past and record the timing as well.
The witness maintained that because the LCC was a tolling company, all it needed its cameras for was to electronically capture vehicular traffic. In respect of the lighting arrangement of the Lekki toll gate, the witness explained that the LCC had some lights mounted high up on the streets around the area, some under the canopy and some at the outer areas. These lights were controlled from inside its office. The witness also explained that the LCC had different sources of power. The LCC had power generated from power outside its control, the company’s generators and the UPS. Once power comes on from the source outside its control it comes on automatically. In the absence of power from the source outside its control, power is obtained from the generator, and it needs to be changed to the generator mode.
He further explained that the UPS is the interface between when the generator is turned on or the power outside its control goes off and when the company needs to change over, so that at any point in time there is no outage. When asked whether if switching off the floodlights within the perimeter on the street will also affect the lights in LCC, Mr. Omomuwasan explained that if the power was sourced from that which is outside the control of the LCC, all the lights will come on. However, where the light source outside its control is switched off and the company’s generator comes on, the controls for the street lights need to be switched on for the lights on the street to come on. When the generator is in use, it powers all the lights.
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The witness denied that the LCC deliberately switched off the lights at the Lekki toll gate. when asked if he would be surprised if a witness were to appear and states that there was no light in the surrounding area on the day of the incident, while there was light in some of the booths, the witness responded by stating that at any point in time, the booths and its equipment cannot go out of power. The UPS would last depending on the load on it. The witness also noted that it was not just the booths that had power, and that the light under the canopy was derived from the UPS. However, there was nobody inside the booths.
Mr. Omomuwasan stated that on the day of the incident, the LCC staff was only asked to comply with the curfew. He noted that the communication did not instruct anyone to leave the UPS on. He further noted that no one asked the staff to switch off the lights. He left the area in the afternoon. He does not know when the lights from the bill boards went off as he was not there. He informed the Panel that the advert company has its own electricity supply separate from the LCC’s. That from the point where his company’s staff left the premises, the generator went off. However, he did not know if there was a power outage as he was not there. He was not sure if the power to his company’s facilities was sabotaged.
The witness stated that he was unsure if there was power outage from the public supply. He noted that the LCC has a generator and does not know how many people the IPP (independent Power Project) serves. He did not also know if there was a deliberate order to switch off the IPP. The witness does not have the details of whom the LCC pays for electricity services. Toll collection stopped between the 8th and 10th
of October, 2020 at the Lekki toll gate during this #EndSARS protest. The witness stated that his office is located at the Toll Plaza 2, towards Chevron.
He added that during the period from the 8th to 20th of October, 2020 he did not go out or go to other locations from the point where he was allegedly blackmailed on social media, around the11th of October, 2020 but he restricted his movement for security reasons. He agreed that prior to the day the curfew was imposed, his staffs were always at the Lekki toll gate and they gave him reports. It was on the day of the curfew that his staff was made to leave. He also noted that to the best of his knowledge, none of his staff was assaulted, as they were not allowed around the toll gate area. He stated that generally, the protesters did not assault people or come after his company’s money. They only blocked roads and prevented his company from collecting toll. Before the fire incident that gutted the plaza, no attacks whatsoever were recorded. If there was, he would have reported to the Police. Although none of his staff were injured, he does not know if any injuries were recorded on other persons. He added that he does not have the capacity to determine what is peaceful or what is not.
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After the event of 20th of October, 2020 he did not go to the scene of the incident again until the moment when he went to the scene alongside the Panel. He does not remember the date the Panel visited the toll gate. In addition, there was also no interaction between himself and the Governor before the visit to the scene of the incident. The witness stated that he had reports of an arson /fire outbreak at the Lekki toll gate. He confirmed that despite being the Managing Director, he did not visit the site until the Panel went there due to security reasons.
He noted further that the LCC had various private companies such as Rakumi, Zion Grace, and Panther that cleaned its facilities and none of these companies cleaned the facilities subsequent to the incident which occurred at the Lekki toll gate on the 20th of October 2020. He confirmed that he was not there to confirm if any cleaning crew cleaned the scene, although they could not go there without his prior instructions. He further noted that all its staff and contractors had been asked to stay away from the scene from the moment the scene became tense. He stated categorically that no cleaning contractors of the LCC went back there, this he knew because he was in contact with his staff. The staff also had the numbers of the managing directors of the cleaning companies.
The witness insisted that none of his cleaning contractors went to clean the scene. Further, that on the morning of the incident, his company did not bring a truck with street sweepers to clear the scene. He also noted that the cleaning companies the LCC contracted did not entirely use brooms. Sometimes, the cleaners used long brooms and at other times, they used mechanical sweepers. He maintained that if there was anyone who cleaned the place on that day, he knew nothing about it.
However, he acknowledged that he heard that the Governor went to the scene and stated that there was no blood to be seen anywhere. That he was not aware of any cleaning done or any report made of patches of blood by the cleaning staff despite the cleaning and that he would be unable to confirm from witnesses if they stated that people were shot and a lot of people got injured because it was not within his knowledge.
Mr. Omomuwasan confirmed that the #EndSARS incident was not the first time curfew would be declared. He further noted that during the corona virus curfew, the staff was asked to comply and they did. However, during the corona virus curfew, the facility was not left in darkness because both situations were not at par. He noted that his staff did not also have a rest area where they sleep as they do not sleep. He explained that where a staff is on night duty, he or she will be on duty throughout the night.
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When the witness was asked how many times the LCC had left its facility in darkness since it started operation, before the corona virus and up until the 20th of October 2020, the witness answered that he was unaware of any catastrophic event and could not answer to it because both situations were not the same. The witness also refused to state his house address when asked on the ground that it was a personal issue and also because he felt insecure.
When asked whether he had been receiving reports in terms of how long it now took to commute through the toll plaza compared to when the LCC was operating, the witness noted that the situation had degenerated in terms of security, traffic congestion and blockage on the road. He also noted that the LCC had received numerous complaints in respect of these, and had to make a comeback.
Summary of the Cross-Examination of Mr. Abayomi Omomuwasan, Managing Director, Lekki Concessions Company by Mr. Okeke of the Nigerian Bar Association.
The witness confirmed that he watched the feed from the cameras. However, he said he did not know when the light to the LCC’s facility went off because the camera does not indicate when the light goes off. He confirmed that the cameras have time stamps. However, he could not know from the timing of the footage when the lights went off. The witness was unable to confirm when the lights went off as the recording went on until the weather became dark. He stated that he vacated his office around Chevron toll gate around 2pm when the curfew was declared. He also confirmed that up until the time the curfew was declared, he was still going to Chevron and he was never attacked.
Mr. Omomuwasan was reluctant to confirm that the protests were peaceful or not. He noted that the fact that he was not attacked did not mean that it was peaceful. He also emphasized that only the tolling cameras were removed from the toll gate on the 20th of October, 2020. He also stated that the LCC does not prosecute persons who fight at the toll gate.
On this note, the witness was discharged, while the Application for the release of the toll gate to the LCC for purposes of insurance claims by Mr. Rotimi Seriki, was not granted. It was however extended for another two (2) weeks to enable all parties have the opportunity of having expert witness which the Panel had already commissioned.
EVIDENCE OF REDDINGTON HOSPITAL IN RESPECT OF THE LEKKI–TOLL GATE INCIDENT OF 20TH OCTOBER, 2020.
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The following appearances were entered in respect of the Summonses dated 15th December 2020 and October, 2021 respectively on the hospital:
• S. A. Oladipo with D. A. Adeoye for Reddington Hospital.
• Olukayode Enitan with Y. Olabode and J. Briggs for Lagos State Government. • Adeshina Ogunlana with Ayo Ademiluyi, Esq. and Tayo Odusanya for #EndSARS protseters.
• Amanda Asagba, Esq. and A. C. Eze for the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). • Mr. Jonathan Ogunsanya appeared as Counsel to the Panel.
• Cyril Ejiofor with Emmanuel Eze for the Nigeria Police.
• Rabiat Fawehinmi-Morakinyo with O. A. Obilade for seven (7) victims of the Lekki toll gate incident.
Evidence of Reddington Hospital
The first witness gave his name as Mr. Ojekale Adebowale. He works at the Head Office of the Reddington Hospital located at No. 12, Idowu Martins Street, Lagos as the Hospital Administrator. He stated that by the virtue of his position, he is versed with the facts relating to the matter he is appearing for. He also informed the Panel that he has in his possession, a couple of documents comprising of medical reports in respect of patients who were brought into the hospital’s facility for treatment on the night of the 20th of October, 2020 and others brought in till the 22nd October, 2020.
• Medical Reports of twenty (20) patients presented at Reddington Hospital, Lekki; the medical reports of eight (8) patients at Reddington Hospital under the hand of Oluwatomi Joshua dated 20th October, 2020 to 12th November, 2020 were admitted together and marked as Exhibit A.
• Medical Reports of twenty (20) patients presented at Reddington Hospital, Lekki on 21st October, 2020 under the hand of Mr. Oleolo dated 25th October 2020 were admitted together and marked as Exhibit B.
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• Letter dated 1st January, 2021 from Reddington Hospital to the Chairperson, Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution of Victims of SARS Related Abuses in RE: WITNESS SUMMONS was admitted and marked as Exhibit C.
Subsequent to the admission of the medical reports as Exhibits, Counsel to Reddington Hospital, Mr. Oladipo impressed upon the Panel, the need to ensure that the tendered medical reports are kept confidential, in compliance with the doctor patient confidentiality and medical laws which prohibit the public presentation of patience medical report in a hospital.
Mr. Oladipo further noted that although he is aware that some parties may request for certified true copies of the reports, he applied that the Panel make an order that whoever applied and gets copies of the documents should respect that confidentiality. This was to prevent the documents from going viral on social media mediums. Further to his Application, the Panel ruled that although they were public documents, the documents were admitted as Exhibits A and B; thus, they were only for the exclusive use of any person(s) who procured certified true copies. Further, such person(s) are required to maintain the confidentiality of the Patient-Doctor relationship and the documents are not for use in the public domain.
Mr. Oladipo also informed the Panel that the Managing Consultant who attended to the patients was before the Panel. However, the Panel noted that Counsel involved in the matter were yet to be availed copies of the reports and would also require time to go through them. All Counsels present also agreed that there was a need for the Panel to adjourn the hearing to another date when the proper witnesses (medical practitioners who attended to the victims) will be before the Panel to answer questions.
At this point, one Dr. Babajide Lawson addressed the Panel on the propriety or otherwise of compelling the physical appearance of the physicians who personally authored the Reports, to appear before the Panel. Dr. Lawson explained that the usual practice in medicine is that when a patient(s) request for medical reports, the administrative personnel prepares the report. He noted that the medical reports were also authored well before the hospital received the Summons to appear before the Panel. Thus, it was not specifically written for the purpose of appearing before the Panel. Consequently, where there are questions pertaining to the treatment of the patient(s), the managing consultant(s) would be the person to answer such questions. For this purpose, he noted that the managing consultants who attended to the patients at Reddington Hospital were one Dr. Oluwatosin Opakunle and himself. On this premise, the matter was adjourned to 30th January, 2021 at 11am.
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At the resumed Hearing of the matter on the 30th of January, 2021, the following Appearances were entered:
• Adeshina Ogunlana for the following #ENDSARS Protesters: Dabira Ayukeu, Samuel Isa, Kamsonchukwu Ibe, Nuicholas Okpe, Ukala Patrick Ayide, Joshua Samuel, Olalekan Faleye, Nathaniel Solomon, Nnatha Stanley Chimezie, Evelyn Augustine, Ajumobi Olajide, Damilola Adedayo, Yaqub Sadiq, Tunde Olanrewaju, Damilola Adeniyi and Ayoola Yusuf.
• John Uthman, with Chinedu Nwata for Mr. Lucky Philemon.
• A. Toba for Mr. Patrick Ochenna.
• A. C. Eze (Mr.) for the Nigerian Bar Association.
• D. A. Adeoye for Reddington Hospital
• Emmanuel Eze with Julio Hodonu for the Nigeria Police Force.
Evidence-in-Chief of Dr. Babajide Lawson on behalf Reddington Hospital. The second witness began by stating that he is Dr. Babjide Lawson, and that he works with Reddington Hospital. He is the Trauma and Orthopedic Surgeon for the hospital. He also stated that he does not know the people he treated personally, but as patients. He further stated that a lot of the patients were presented at the Lekki branch of the hospital on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of October, 2020 respectively and because he is charge of the Trauma Unit, anyone involved in any form of traumatic injury like gun shots would have to go through him first. He further stated that he attended to a couple of the patients. The patients who needed to be admitted were admitted while those who required surgery were taken care of. In addition, most of the procedures were done there as well. However, some were transferred to the Victoria Island branch of the hospital where he is mainly located. The witness further testified that on the night of the 20th of October, 2020 went to the Lekki branch of the hospital to assess and determine if the branch required his assistance. Further, he spoke with the Managing Director of the branch after which he transferred patients from the Lekki to the Victoria Island branch. He was there until the 23rd of October, 2020. Dr. Lawson noted that he could not remember the names of the patients he treated. However, on the first night, he saw about six (6) patients. Other patients trickled in as the days went by. They all presented with varying degrees of injuries. He indicated that he was ready to clarify some of the medical reports, where same was necessary.
Cross-Examination of Dr. Lawson by Mr. Olumide-Fusika, SAN. Mr. Olumide-Fusika began his cross-examination by thanking the hospital for the assistance it rendered to the victims on the day in question. He then requested for the witness to be shown the medical reports that were tendered as Exhibit A, B and
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C respectively. After being shown the Exhibits, the witness was asked to identify and tell the Panel which of the medical reports he authored. To this, the witness responded by stating that he did not author any of the medical reports. However, he was familiar with them. He confirmed that it was the protocol of the hospital for files to be opened for all patients who presented and were accepted by the hospital.
Mr. Olumide-Fusika then requested the witness to look through the medical reports and then confirm that there is no medical report in respect of one Mr. Samuel Ashola who is a Petitioner before the Panel and also his client. The witness confirmed that he could not find any such medical report. When further asked if he would agree that his presentation at the Panel was not exhaustive of the patients who were treated of gunshot wounds; because his client claimed that he was treated at the hospital and he also had pictorial evidence of his treatment. That on the night in question at the Lekki facility, when patients were being brought in, the situation at the time was similar to a situation called ‘a mass casualty’, as a lot of patients presented at the same time and consequently overwhelming the available facility he agreed that the medical report tendered was not exhaustive of all patients seen on the 20th October 2020. However, if the witness states that he was treated at the facility, he can get a medical report.
Mr. Olumide-Fusika again asked the witness to confirm that the medical reports he presented were not exhaustive, to which the witness confirmed same. When asked if there was a Dr. Muyiwa Olofin or Dr Tola at the Reddington Hospital, the witness responded by saying he did not know.
Again, the witness was asked to look at the medical report relating to one Nnaji Mabel and confirm that the medical report states that she was treated for a gunshot injury to the abdomen, the witness confirmed same. The witness further confirmed that Page two (2) of the medical report showed that tat a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis of the victim showed probable gunshot pellets. When asked where the said Pellets were, the witness noted that as shown by the Report, the victim had no procedure done to extract it and then further confirmed that the said pellets were still in her body. The witness also indicated that although the medical report was authored by one Dr. Oluwatomi Joshua, he categorically emphasized that he saw the patient, examined, took responsibility for her treatment, reviewed her CT scan, discussed with the General Surgeon as well as the Radiologist in respect of the patient. Furthermore, he and other doctors/specialists held a mini conference in respect of the patient and that it was determined that an extraction was unnecessary. Consequently, she was kept overnight for observation and discharged the following morning. When further asked if it was normal for a person to have pellets in their body and go away with same, the witness responded in the affirmative. He further stated that there was no need to touch such bullet as long as it is not located in a part that could endanger
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the body. He clarified that the bullets are not poisonous and that the body actually ‘walls’ it off.
In respect of the next victim, one Joshua Samuel, the witness confirmed that the said patient was also a victim of gunshot, and that the medical report did indicate that a foreign body, which is the bullet was extracted from the patient. When asked about the whereabouts of the bullets removed from the victim, the witness clarified that just a bullet was extracted and it would be with the Head Surgeon. The witness further clarified that the reason why he stated that he was the one in charge was because he is the Trauma and Orthopedic Surgeon. Further, that he picked this particular patient up himself because he had a gunshot injury. He brought him in, assessed him and discovered that the bullet was located in his chest close to vital organs. Further, that, the process required him to call in the cardiothoracic surgeon who then took lead. At this point, Mr. Olumide Fusika SAN applied for an Order directing Reddington Hospital to present the bullets.
Mr. Olumide-Fusika SAN requested the witness to look at the Report involving one Bright Osarehemen, a case of gunshot injury. The witness confirmed that the case indeed, involved a gunshot injury. He however noted that due to the nature of the gun shot injury suffered by the patient, involving an ‘entry and exit wound’, there was no bullet to be extracted as the bullet would have already exited the body of the victim.
In respect of the Reports relating to one Ajoku Japhet and Lucky Philemon, respectively, the witness confirmed that the victims suffered gunshot injuries with both entry and exit wounds.
With respect to the next set of Reports marked as ‘Exhibit B’, the witness noted that those set of reports were in respect of victims who were treated at the Lekki branch of the hospital. Further, that his colleague who also treated the patients would also be coming to give evidence before the Panel.
Cross-Examination of Dr. Lawson by Mr. Ogunlana
The witness began by confirming that one Joshua Samuel, one of Mr. Adesina Ogunlana’s clients was shot in the chest and that the victim had a surgery done, where a bullet was extracted. However, the Cardiothoracic surgeon who was the lead surgeon in the instant case was in the best position to state where the bullet is kept. The witness went on to explain that the only role he played was to assess and examine the patient. His examination revealed that the bullet was close to vital organs around the heart. As such, a more specialized surgeon was needed to operate on the victim. It was during the surgery that the bullet was taken out. Consequently, the Surgeon was in the best position to talk about its whereabout.
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When asked why the hospital refused to release the bullet extracted from the body of the victim to him despite repeated demands, the witness noted that although the bullet was not the property of the hospital, the hospital’s protocol however was that in the case of a gunshot injury, which needed to be extracted, the Police usually have to be called in and same would be handed over to them. In the instant case however, he was not in a position to explain the whereabout of the bullet after its extraction. When further asked if that particular bullet as well as others that were extracted by the hospital were handed over to the Police, Army or Lagos State Government, the witness stated that for the patients he operated upon, he did not extract any bullet(s). He further stressed that he could not speak on the bullets extracted by other doctors. The witness denied that the medical Report was carefully written in order to protect the hospital’s interests. Rather, all the Reports were written with the purpose of disseminating sufficient information. The witness was further referred to the first paragraph of the medical Report which read; “A 22yr old patient who sustained a gunshot injury to the left posterior chest wall on the 20th of October, 2020 during the Lekki shoot-out around 8pm.” He noted that what was written in the medical report was the information given by the Victim. He did not know what a shoot-out was. When Mr. Adesina Ogunlana referred him to the Report of one Damilola Adedayo, the witness restated the fact that he could not speak on it. The person who could speak on it was one Dr. Opakunle.
Cross -Examination of Dr. Lawson by Mr. Uthman, on behalf of Lucky Philemon (Victim).
Mr. Uthman began by asking the witness if it was the practice of his hospital to issue two (2) medical Reports in respect of a particular patient, the witness responded by stating that this may be possible for different reasons. He added that where a patient complains of insufficient information, another Report might be issued. In respect of the instant case, the witness however indicated that he was not aware of the circumstances of the same. Mr. Uthman further informed the witness that two (2) medical reports were issued in respect of Mr. Lucky Philemon (the first dated 31st
December, 2020 and another dated 16th November, 2020 which was issued at the point of discharge) and then asked the witness if he had record of the reports. The witness responded by stating that the subsequent report takes precedence over the prior one. The witness was asked to look at the report and confirm if he signed same, which he did in the affirmative. The said Report was therefore admitted and marked ‘Exhibit D’. The witness further confirmed that the report of the report of 31st
December, 2020 takes precedence over the report of 16th November, 2020. He went ahead to further explain that when the victim was discharged, he was issued a medical report to enable him travel back to Kaduna for medical treatment. In the same vein, the report dated 31st December, 2020 was issued at the behest of the Panel when it
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requested the facility to forward all medical reports of patients that were seen by the hospital. However, if the initial report was not seen by the hospital, then another one would have been issued. Irrespective of that however, both reports captured the essence of the injuries suffered by the victim (gunshot) which required him to have an amputation done. He emphasized that the dates of admission and discharge did not vary and consequently, the Panel could rely on both.
The witness went on to explain that a cardiothoracic surgeon is a person who operates on the heart, lungs, blood vessels and so on. Further, that the victim was examined by an orthopedic surgeon. When asked to identify the portion of the report which shows that the victim was examined by an orthopedic surgeon, the witness responded by stating that the fact was implicit in the report. He went further to explain that as the issuing doctor, it is assumed that he covered his basis, and that if he had needed to consult another specialist, he would have been required to document that he did. Otherwise, he would not have had the authority to write the report. The witness confirmed that he is an orthopedic surgeon, and also that the report of Mr. Lucky Philemon did not reflect that the injury suffered by the victim was an entry and exit wound. He emphasized that he saw, cared for, examined and counseled the victim before he went in for the procedure and until he was discharged. He stated that he performed the surgeries on the victim and based on these, he is fairly certain of the things he said. At this point, two letters from Alphacentric Partners, Legal Practitioners dated 30th November, 2020 and 10th December, 2020 respectively were admitted and marked ‘Exhibit E.’
The witness noted that there was no bullet removed from the body of the victim, no Police Report obtained and neither did the victim pay for the hospital bills. He was treated free of charge. When asked for the difference between a dying left leg and a left leg Gangrene, the witness stated that both were the same. He also explained that disarticulation and amputation were the same and the term ‘amputation’ could cover for both. However, while amputation involves taking a part of the body off while cutting through bone, disarticulation simply involves removing a part of the body at the level of the joint. In the case of Lucky Philemon, amputation was carried out on him. Lastly, he confirmed that prior to and after the surgery, the victim was advised and a recommendation was given for the need of a prosthetic leg.
The matter was consequently adjourned to the 12th of February, 2021 to enable Counsel to the Lagos State Government cross-examine Witness Number two (2) from Reddington Hospital.
However, on the 13th of March, 2021 Mr. Uthman was granted leave to re-evaluate the witness (Dr. Lawson) in view of the new documents presented before the Panel.
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The cross examination commenced with the witness reiterating that the time in which Mr. Philemon presented at the hospital was not taken or noted as the situation was a mass casualty and the priority was to save lives. It is not usually stated when a patient comes in, the issue of time would be a misplaced priority, where there are several patients presenting with injuries. The Doctor’s aim was to triage the patient. He emphatically stated that there was no way to medically determine the time a patient who presented was shot. When further asked if it was preferable for the doctors to rely on whatever they were told by the patients, the witness explained that there were three (3) phases of patient engagement. The first (1st) he noted is when a patient categorically states what happened to him. The second (2nd) is when the information provided by the patient is assessed while the third (3rd) part involved investigating the sum total of information obtained in A and B to determine the extent of the patient’s injury.
The witness confirmed that he assessed the case of Mr. Lucky Philemon and established that he was a victim of gunshot injury. The witness also confirmed that the results, including the date and time of all tests and x-rays carried out on Mr. Philemon were all included in the case notes that were tendered. He further confirmed that a crepe bandage was wrapped on the patient’s leg. He concurred that the case notes presented also exhibited the list of doctor’s, their daily endorsements as well as the date the patient was discharged.
He clarified that depending on the purpose, the medical report tendered was a relevant summary of the patient. He noted that regardless of purpose, the date of discharge ought to be stated on the medical report.
When showed the medical report of the patient dated 20th October, 2020 (which was forwarded to the Panel), and asked if he would be surprised to know that the patient was still at the hospital after that day, the witness indicated that he would not be surprised. He explained that Mr. Philemon was a patient who resided in Kaduna with his family. He noted that when the witness presented, part of the information provided was that they had issues with returning to Kaduna. As a result, they exchanged phone numbers. He further explained that it was possible for patients to be discharged on a day before they were to leave in order to avoid them incurring further bills. Secondly, if a patient indicated that he was not ready to leave, the hospital would continue to accommodate him. He further explained that in the instant situation where it was documented that the patient had been discharged, it only meant that the medical personnel had no obligation to check on him. At that point, his care had ended and he could proceed to out-patient care. However, he could still be within the facility.
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When asked if a patient who had been discharged could remain in the hospital bed or put in another facility, the witness indicated that the answer would be dictated on a case-by-case basis. He reiterated that in the instant case, the patient’s family members were not based in Lagos. Further that because they had intimated him of their difficulty in returning to Kaduna, he gave them permission to stay at the facility until they were ready to leave.
When asked to examine the case note for Mr. Philemon and tell the Panel where the result of the x-ray, CT angiogram and the PCV test results were, the witness informed the Panel that the result was at page 17 (case notes), while the result of the C.T. angio was also there. The witness further informed the Panel that he knew that patients could ask for medical records. He confirmed that the copy of the PCV test result before the Panel as the one dated 29th October, 2020. He stated that the Patient had another PCV test carried out on him on the 20th of October, 2020 when he was presented at the facility. The witness subsequently identified the two documents which were dated the 21st of October, 2020 at 1:18am and another dated 20th
October, 2020 at 21:29pm.
The witness informed the Panel that according to the report before the Panel, the Patient was at the Lekki Toll-Gate as at 9:31pm on the 20th of October, 2020. He stated that if shown his hospital’s manner of presenting x-ray records, he would be able to confirm its correctness. He also confirmed that the patient’s x-rays are stored on the system. Upon demand by the patient, they are either printed out or burnt on a compact disc (CD). When asked if he would be able to identify a CD from Reddington, the patient indicated that it usually carried the hospital and patient’s name. When shown the x-ray result, the witness indicated that there was no doubt that the x-ray emanated from the facility. He noted that the result he was shown had “lower limb angio of Lucky Philemon” written on it. The compact disc marked ‘Philemon Lucky lower limb’ x-ray and flash drive were admitted together and marked Exhibit G. Reddington Hospital X-rays of Lucky Philemon were admitted together and marked Exhibit H. The media file was played at the Panel. When the witness was asked to confirm that the x-ray of the patient being played it showed the time of the first image being shown to the Panel showed the time as 9:31pm of October 20, 2020 the witness indicated that he was unsure because it did not show the patient’s name on it. However, the print-out would carry that information.
Dr. Lawson confirmed that he treated a patient named Mabel Nnaji at Victoria Island. However when Mr. Uthman requested that the witness be shown the medical report of Mabel Nnaji, the Panel indicated that the medical record requested for had no connection to that of his client (Lucky Philemon).
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When Mr. Uthman requested that the witness confirm the time he treated both Mr Lucky Philemon and Ms Mabel Nnaji, the witness reiterated that the situation was a mass casualty. As such, standard operating protocols were jettisoned. He emphasized again that the priority was to save lives. When also asked to also clarify how he treated both Lucky Philemon and Mabel Nnaji, the witness reiterated that patient presented at Lekki were triaged and then transferred to their Victoria Island branch. He noted that he went to the Lekki branch of the hospital to assist, assess and took another patient with him back to Victoria Island branch of the hospital. Consequently, it would also be accurate to find that a report documenting that patients were . When also asked if it would be correct to state that Lucky Philemon had been treated long before Mabel Nnaji was treated or if it were possible that Lucky Philemon was seen before 9pm, the witness informed the Panel that he could not tell because he was not the only one at the hospital.
Dr. Lawson went on to inform the Panel that the length of time it takes to prepare a patient for x-ray was determinable only on a case-by-case basis. He explained that the severity of the case would determine which patient would be bumped ahead of others. He indicated that an x-ray and CT angiogram could not be done simultaneously. There was a sequence in which they could be done. In Philemon’s case, the x-ray was done before the C.T. angiogram.
Cross -Examination of Dr. Lawson by Mr. Olukayode Enitan, SAN, on behalf of Lagos State Government.
Prior to the cross-examination on the next adjourned date, Dr. Babajide Lawson clarified that the incident of 20th October, 2020 created the scenario which he likened to that of ‘mass casualty’. He explained that the priority was to save lives and separate the critically injured from the walking wounded, as such, it was probable that some patient’s would have had their notes documented on the clinical sheet. Consequently, the records of some patients might not be traceable.
Under cross-examination, the witness confirmed that several individuals with varying degrees of injuries (some with clinical notes which had been tendered and others with case notes) were treated from 20th and 23rd of October, 2020. The witness then went on to identify the bundle of seventeen (17) clinical and eight (8) case notes of patients who were treated at Reddington Hospital between 20th of October, 2020 and 23rd of October, 2020. In the absence of any objection, they were admitted and marked together as Exhibit F.
Mr. Enitan recalling the note relating to Mr. Lucky Philemon (referred to as Exhibit F1) asked the witness to confirm that it was the Case Note and Report of Mr. Lucky, which
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the witness answered in the affirmative. The witness confirmed that the case note was divided into two (2) parts: The information given by the patient or his relative where the patient is unconscious and the part in respect of the tests taken by the medical team in addition to the treatment given or done on the patient. He also confirmed usually, the cover page, known as the data form contained information supplied by the patient under reference. He explained that in some other instances, the information might be supplied by a relative where it was an emergency.
Referring to the second (2nd) page of the clinical note, the witness stated that the time of 11.30pm stated there, was indicative of the time of documentation and not the time the patient was presented. He went on to explain that the note beside the time which stated: “he was brought it in with the inability to use the left lower limb ex 30mins.” meant that it was the perceived duration in which the victim had been unable to use his left lower limb. He noted that the victim was probably brought in thirty (30) minutes prior to presentation. The witness indicated that in the instant case, the patient (victim) supplied the information. He reiterated that the patient (victim) supplied all information in respect of himself personally and the treatment of the patient commenced thereafter.
The witness informed the Panel that as an orthopedic surgeon that deals with trauma, the range of injuries that he deals with is gunshot injuries. As such, there is an aspect of the training that is essential to understanding the nature of the injuries and how to treat patients with such injuries. When asked if he knew the available gun capacities, the witness explained that the nature of the injury helped them classify the injury as either low or high level; usually in correlation with certain types of firearms which could be low, medium or high energy. In response to whether high energy meant high velocity, the witness explained that the term ‘velocity’ was used in the past but it had been modified. He further explained that where the velocity was high, then the firearm was high energy. However, velocity alone did not qualify a firearm, which was why the terminology had been discarded or modified.
Dr. Lawson confirmed that he knew the difference between low, medium and high energy injuries and also agreed that it could be said that the three (3) types of injuries are usually caused by different firearms. That a person shot with a double barreled shot-gun was an approximation between medium to high energy. He informed the Panel that as a doctor, he did not know what a craft arm was. The witness was then asked the energy level he would categorize a military grade gun, the witness did not eventually answer the question due to Mr. Fusika’s objection.
The witness stated that the first information of what ails the patient is based on information supplied by them. He also confirmed that the examination of a patient could either corroborate or vary the account given by such patient. He agreed that
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even where the examination of the patient corroborates his account, the doctor would not be privy to how such injury was obtained other than the account of the patient. Dr. Lawson confirmed that there was a protocol with respect to how gunshot injuries were treated. He explained that clinically, the part of the body where the gunshot injury is located would determine the next line of action. That, certain areas would take precedence over others. For example, a patient with a gunshot injury to the head would have priority over another with a gunshot injury to the arm. He emphasized that the priority would be to save life before a report is made to law enforcement. Where possible, the bullet would be extracted and handed over to the Police. He concurred that where the bullet could not be extracted, it is left in the body as long as it is not life-threatening. He noted that one of the characteristics of most high energy gunshot injuries was that they usually had an entry and exit wound. When asked if it was characteristic for a low energy gunshot to remain in the body where it was shot in a fleshy part, the witness noted that the level of energy and other factors usually influenced whether the bullet would exit or not. He explained that where a medium energy weapon was shot at pointblank range, it would kill the individual. He also confirmed that he was familiar with forensic science as it relates to medicine.
The witness informed the Panel that it was part of forensics to preserve x-rays and bullets which are extracted as the priority was to save lives; every other thing was secondary. In respect of clothing, the witness noted that the preservation of the clothing worn by the patient at the point of injury, may be impossible as the cloth (es) is sometimes cut in order to get to the injury. Other times, they are discarded. Further, the mechanism of cutting the cloth is not pre-determined as it largely depended on the patient’s injury.
The witness informed the Panel that in Mr. Philemon’s case was a life-threatening situation because of the nature of his injury. When asked which day the wounds of the patients who presented with gunshot injuries upon examination would be fully closed, the witness answered that the question would have to be taken on a case by case basis. However, with respect to Mr. Philemon, although he had an emergency surgery done, the wound was only partially closed while the rest was allowed to egress. He emphasized that it was a gunshot injury and he had subsequent surgeries and his care was based on what was determined at each stage.
The witness confirmed that with respect to all the patients, none of the materials they presented with was preserved with a view to further examination due to the situation of mass casualty in which the patients needed to be stabilized. However, some patients the clinical assessments such as x-rays were documented. He noted that the clinical evidence was what the hospital had for the procedure. When asked if the patients who had gunshot injuries had x-rays, the witness noted that some of the patients were referred to other facilities while the case notes of the patients who were
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attended to by the hospital had x-rays and further imagining. The matter was adjourned dat this point.
At the resumed Hearing date, Mr. Enitan continued his cross-examination of the witness with respect to the treatment of Mabel Nnaji. The witness began by confirming that the lady suffered a gunshot injury, was discharged and had some pellets which were still lodged in her body. He informed the Panel that the gunshot injury the patient suffered could be categorized under medium energy. He indicated that he could not categorically state that the weapon was not a law enforcement grade one. When asked if he was trying to state that law enforcement agents carried guns that used pellets, the witness explained that when a gunshot occurs, there can be residual entity, especially since the entity was not extracted in the instant case. He further explained that if a patient indicated that he was shot and small metallic objects not entirely the size of a bullet are found, they are referred to as pellets. He clarified that it however did not necessarily mean that it was a pellet that was discharged as the range of some gunshot injuries, for example, a shotgun which impacts with a lot of pellets. He further explained that a shotgun falls in the medium-high energy category and it was possible to end up having pellets. As such, it would be difficult to categorically tell the type of weapon used if the gun that discharged the ammunition were not seen.
The witness went on to confirm that the patient (Mabel Nnaji) still had the pellet in her abdomen till date. He explained that from the imaging done and clinical tests, there was nothing to suggest she was in danger. Further, that for such individuals all the hospital would do is observe and follow up.
When asked to describe the kind of injury that the entry of a bullet inflicts on the point of penetration, the witness explained that the entry point was almost always smaller than the exit point. He further explained that because a bullet moves faster than the wind, there is a rippling effect in the air. Once it got into the tissue, the rippling effect is reproduced within the tissue. He noted that depending on the energy, it would give a radius within which the damage could occur. This energy is what the bullet maintains as it exits the tissue; which is why the exit point is usually larger than the entry point.
He agreed that Mabel Nnaji did not have an exit wound. He also indicated that the type of treatment to be administered to the patient would depend on the finding at the time of presentation as well as the location of the injury, patients’ condition and if the patient has been determined not to be in danger. In such scenario, the treatment protocol would be wound care, prescription of antibiotics and pain medication. It would be unlikely for a patient who was in danger and presented bleeding to be given wound care and discharged.
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The witness confirmed that one Amako Francis also presented on 21st October, 2020 with a knife stab wound or a wound from a sharp object, as opposed to a gunshot injury. He also confirmed that the patient was not treated after the 21st of October, 2020.
The witness also confirmed that a patient named Bright Osarehemen presented on the 22nd of October, 2020 with a gunshot injury of six (6) hours duration after the incident. He explained that the patient was injured on the day of presentation. He indicated that it was unlikely that the instant patient could have been a victim of the incident which occurred at the Lekki toll gate on the 20th of October, 2020.
In respect to one Joshua Samuel, the witness also confirmed that the patient had the removal of a foreign body (i.e. bullet) from the body. He noted that the surgery was not done by him and confirmed that indeed, there were several complaints of bodily injuries like cuts and bruises which were allegedly sustained from the Lekki Toll Gate.
From the Reddington Medical report, there were several people that presented on the 21st with all manner of complaints of body injuries like cuts and bruises/injuries which most of them alleged were sustained at Lekki Toll Gate. He stated that that it was not possible to confirm where the injuries occurred at the time. He also stated that some of the patients who presented only required basic dressing of their wounds. Moving on to the Report of Ajoku Japhet, the witness confirmed that the patient presented with a gunshot injury on the 22nd of October, 2020 and claimed to have been shot at Ajah, not Lekki Toll Gate. In respect of the Report of Edward Matthew, the witness noted that his Report was issued on the 30th of October, 2020. He confirmed that the patient had presented at the hospital at about 8.30pm on the 19th of October, 2020 before the incident at Lekki occurred.
Dr. Babajide confirmed that there was a standard operation procedure in relation to gunshot injuries generally. He explained that the procedure would be dependent on the nature of the injury vis-a-vis, the part of the body that was injured, time of presentation as well as the status to wit: emergency, urgent or stable. He further explained that assuming it was an emergency and the injury was located in the extremity, the immediate step to be taken was to assess the stability of the patient, get imaging and cleanse the wound. After the necessities had been done, law enforcement agents, usually the Police would be informed.
For patients who presented at the hospital during the incident, no follow-up was done in respect to informing the Police. He confirmed that several people presented throughout the 21st of October, 2020 claiming one form of injury or another. He also confirmed that most of such patients did not require major surgeries and that he (and the facility) ensured that those that presented with life threatening conditions were not only stabilized, they were also treated as though they were fee paying patients of the hospital. He further confirmed that all patients that presented were taken in.
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Where there was a shortage of bed spaces at the emergency room but the condition of the patient was not severe enough to warrant a transfer, some of the patients were referred to other facilities. He emphasized that the goal was to ensure that the patients were referred to the general or private hospitals in cases where his facility could not care for them.
When asked to give a window within which a patient who had suffered a high energy gunshot injury had to receive care; and where such care was not provided, could lead to a fatality, the witness explained that Medicine was not an exact science as a young person who had a gunshot injury to the leg may not die from blood loss but an infection. In another instance, a diabetic 20 year old man could die within two days. He informed the Panel that an individual who suffered a high energy gunshot wound should receive medical attention within twenty-four (24) hours in order to prevent him from dying from loss of blood.
The witness indicated that he was told that the Governor of Lagos State visited the Lekki branch of the hospital on the night of the 20th of October, 2020. When asked if the Governor also visited the Victoria Island branch of the hospital, the witness indicated that he did not see him. When asked if the hospital made any commitment as to what the hospital would do with whoever comes in, the witness explained that around 7 or 8pm on the 20th October 2020, a call was placed to medical personnel to make themselves available as they would be required to help out. He noted that the instruction was that no patient should be turned down. He confirmed that the Governor was at the hospital on the night of the incident. Specifically, he noted that the Governor was there very late, at about midnight. He emphasized that he did not know if he informed the hospital staff that the State was interested in ensuring that people got the best treatment the hospital could provide as he did not see him.
At this point, the witness was discharged from the further hearing in respect of the investigation into the Lekki incident the occurred on the 20th of October, 2020 as it affects Reddington Hospital.
Withdrawal of Legal Representation on Behalf of the Nigerian Army by Mr. A.T. Kehinde, SAN.
During the proceedings, Mr. S.N. Agweh, SAN informed the Panel that his presence was not for the purposes of representing the Panel. Rather, he was there to deliver a message on behalf of Mr. Kehinde Akinlolu, SAN. He further informed the Panel that prior to his appearance, Mr. Kehinde Akinlolu had written a letter dated 20th January, 2021 to the Panel, in which he explained that the team of legal practitioners who represented the Nigerian Army based on the Summons issued on the Army on the 28th of October, 2020 at the Panel has been disbanded by the Nigerian Army, subsequent to the proceedings of 21st November, 2020. Consequently, they had no
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further mandate to represent the Army in subsequent proceedings. He indicated that Mr. Akinlolu, SAN thought it necessary to ask him to appear before the Panel in order to debunk the false news circulating in the media that the Nigerian Army had refused to show up. In response, the Chairperson appreciated Mr. Agweh’s presence while also acknowledging the letter written by Mr. A.T. Kehinde, SAN. She however noted that the reportage in the media were incorrect and did not represent the Ruling of the Panel. She further noted that having served so many Summonses on the Nigerian Army and they were always absent, the Panel felt that as Counsel on record, he would be in a position to assist the Panel in order to at least let the Panel know why the Nigerian Army was not appearing in the matter.
Mr. Fusika however noted that whilst the Panel could not compel any lawyer to represent a party, the case against the Nigerian Army has not been concluded. Mr. Ogunlana also opposed the notion that the Panel was helpless if the Nigerian Army decided that it would no longer appear. To this, the Chairperson categorically stated that where a party refuses to appear before the Panel and present his case, it is deemed that the party has abandoned his case and the Panel’s Rules on in respect of uncontested matters will be invoked by the Panel. Further, the Panel’s position was stated clearly in its Ruling. On this note, Mr. Agweh sought the Panel’s permission to take his leave, and same was granted.
On the next adjourned date, 27th February, 2021 the Chairperson informed the parties present in the case of the Summons issued on the Nigerian Army that the Panel will go on to hear the matter irrespective of the presence of the Army and or its representatives. However, the matter was subsequently adjourned to a later date that was to be communicated to Counsel and Parties because the evidence of Reddington Hospital had not been concluded and vital documents from the hospital’s records were yet to be admitted in evidence.
SUMMONS ISSUED ON LOATSAD PROMEDIA LIMITED
Mr. Jonathan Ogunsanya, Counsel to the Panel.
Mr. A. J. Owonikoko, SAN with Olukayode Enitan, SAN, Jerry Briggs and Y. Olabode for Lagos State Government.
Mr. Adeshina Ogunlana with Mr. Ayo Ademiluyi for named #endSARS protesters. Mr. J. I. Eboseremen with Emmanuel Eze for the Nigeria Police Force. Mr. O. C. Olagunju with Mr. O. Obilade, holding the brief of Mr. Olumide- Fusika, SAN for named #EndSARS protesters.
Mr. Rotimi Seriki with Mr. Akin Elegbede for Lekki Concession Company Limited.
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The representative of Loatsad Promomedia Limited is sworn on the Holy Bible and states that he speaks English language.
EVIDENCE-IN-CHIEF OF MR. ABIMBOLA ENIOLA ON BEHALF OF LOATSAD PROMEDIA LIMITED.
The witness began giving his evidence by informing the Panel that his name was Abimbola Eniola, Company Secretary to Loatsad Promedia Limited (‘The Company’) which is located at Plot 7, Block 52A, Omorinre Johnson Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. He stated that he was before the Panel due to the Summons that was served on the Company and went ahead to identify same. In the absence of objections, the Summons to the Chief Executive Officer of Loatsad Promedia was tendered and admitted as Exhibit A. He was before the Panel to give the company’s position in respect of the incident which occurred on the 20th of October, 2020.
He testified that on the 20th of October, 2020 the Lagos State Government declared a curfew. He noted that staff of the company had been working from home since the pandemic began in March, 2020. However, the Operations team had been going about their business, which involved going to the company’s sites across Lagos State to upload contents and monitor the situation of things generally. He informed the Panel that the head of the human resources department circulated the broadcast of Mr. Governor to the company’s group chat and directed the Operations team to shut down the billboards no later than 3pm on that day in order to enable staff of the Operations team return to their homes before 4pm when the curfew would become enforceable. He stated that the billboard at the Lekki Admiralty toll plaza was turned off at 3pm and the man in charge of the generator left.
The witness explained that the company was into the business of outdoor advertising, activation, both above and below the line advertising (depending on the site). He noted that although the company was registered in October 2013, operations did not commence until 2014. However, as far as the toll gate was concerned, the company only does outdoor advertising; which was the essence of having the bill board. He informed the Panel that he did not have to leave at 3pm or visit the site on that day (20th Of October 2020) as directed because he had been working from home. He noted that panels belonging to the company were vandalized while cables and batteries were stolen; although he was not sure when that happened. The company was not even aware of this fact until the toll-gate was re-opened.
Cross- Examination of Mr. Abimbola Eniola by Mr. Seriki on Behalf of Lekki Concession Company (LCC).
The witness began by confirming that the Human Resources Department gave the directive for the bill boards which the company operate in Lagos to be shut down. He also informed that apart from the Lekki toll gate, the company had bill boards around Falomo, Isolo, Surulere, and at the roundabout at Alexander, Ikoyi. He also
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confirmed that the bill boards around those locations were also shut down at about 3pm of the 20th of October, 2020 as well.
When asked if the shutting down of the bill boards was pursuant to the directive of the government, the witness confirmed same. He also confirmed that 20th October, 2020 was not the first time the company’s bill boards would go off. He noted that for the most part in March, April and May, the boards were completely switched off across Nigeria due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He explained that the essence of the boards was for viewership. However, there was no point turning on the generators which powered the boards if there was no one to view them on the streets. He then stated that upon resumption, the boards only ran for twelve (12) hours. However, since the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of hours for running the boards depended on the arrangement with the clients.
Mr. Abimbola Eniola went on to explain that the main source of power for the bill board at the Lekki toll-gate, Public power supply “Power Holding Company” and the generator was the back-up source. He informed the Panel that Loatsad never used the LCC’s generator. The company generator used to operate the bill board is operated by a staff of the company and there was no way the boards would be switched on when the staff had been asked to go home. The witness confirmed that the staff had to visit the site in order to upload contents. He explained that the billboards worked in such a way that they had to be fed with video contents or pictures. Further, that the LED’s could be uploaded either remotely or by physically visiting the sites to upload the flash drives. However, since the technical team didn’t have access to the office, the technical staff had to visit the sites directly to upload the contents from USBs. He agreed that the technical staff were not permanently stationed at the Lekki Toll-Gate, they only went to the sites when they needed to upload content. He stated that apart from the operator of the generator, the company had no other physical staff at the Lekki Toll-Gate.
He stated that no other staff had anything to do with the bill board around that time, as they were all working from home. If they were not working from home, they would be in their office at Omorinre Johnson, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. He confirmed that the company issued a press statement on why the staff had to leave. He noted that although he had a draft copy of said press statement, which was issued, he could not obtain a screenshot of that which was posted online. When Mr. Seriki sought to tender a copy of the press statement, all Counsel with the exception of Mr. Ogunlana did not object to its admissibility. Mr. Ogunlana’s objection was premised on the fact that
the document was neither signed nor presented on the company’s letter head. The Panel however admitted the Press Statement as Exhibit B on the grounds that the rules of admissibility were not strictly applied as the Panel was a fact-finding body charged with the duty of conducting an investigation. Most importantly, the Panel
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was interested in any document or material which would assist it in getting to the truth of the matter.
The witness went on to confirm that he was aware that protesters had been at the toll gate prior to 20th October, 2020. He explained that his company cooperated with the protesters by uploading contents prepared by the protesters on its bill board at a discounted rate or even outrightly, free of charge. The company also supported the protesters by assisting the disc jockey (DJ) to power his equipment with the company’s generator. However, because the cable could not get to the generator house, the Protesters had to use their own generator.
The witness confirmed that pilfering of the company’s equipment continued even after the 20th of October, 2020. Further, that the company lodged a complaint with the Maroko Police Division and this led to the apprehension of some culprits. He also confirmed that the Police subsequently issued a Police Report to the Company. When Mr. Seriki sought to tender the said Police Report, no Counsel raised any objection except Mr. Olagunju, who objected on the premise that the document was irrelevant for the purposes for which the Panel was set up, as the alleged thefts occurred in December, 2020, while the Lekki incident occurred on 20th October, 2020, therefore, they were outside the Terms of Reference of the Panel. Responding to the objection, Mr. Seriki stated that the witness had testified to the pilfering of the company’s properties, and the fact that access to the company’s office was restricted and was not granted until December 2020. Consequently, the document ought to be admitted.
In a considered Ruling, the Panel held that because the report of the theft of the company’s properties was not made until the 13th of December, 2020 it brought it outside the period of investigation. Consequently, the said document was not relevant and was rejected. The document was rejected and marked Exhibit Rejected 1.
Lastly, the witness informed the Panel that the company did not take instructions from the LCC while carrying out its operations at the location of the billboard at the Toll Gate. In addition, the LCC did not also interfere in the company’s activities in any way Cross-Examination of Mr. Abimbola Eniola by Mr. Owonikoko, SAN on behalf of Lagos State Government.
The witness reiterated that the name of the company which he represents is Loatsad Promomedia, a private enterprise. He confirmed that the company’s installation at the toll gate is the signage on top of the toll. He explained that said installation was an LED two (2) faced bill board belonging to the company, and not the LCC. He further explained that the company had a rental contract with the LCC for it to install on the facility of the Lekki toll-gate, as such, the company usually paid rent to the LCC for the use of the toll plaza for the installation.
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He noted that the only relationship the company had with the Lagos State Government was that the company paid advertising fees to the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) and taxes to the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS). The witness also confirmed that as a company bound by LASAA, it was bound to comply with its regulations. Further, that the Lagos State Government declared a curfew all over Lagos State on 20th October 2020. When referred to Exhibit C as admitted during the testimony of the Head of Service, the witness noted that it was the first time he was seeing the document and that he was only aware that the curfew began at 4pm and not by 9pm.
He conceded that because the company was only aware that the curfew was to begin at 4pm, the company asked its staff to leave by 3pm, in order to enable them get home before 4pm. He noted that he was unaware that some people were exempted from the curfew. Further, that the company was not exempted because they were not an essential service provider and they are into advertising. The witness confirmed that he was aware of the rule of target audience in advertising. He explained that the rule meant that advertisement must target or attract the attention of people who will patronize the advertised product(s). He agreed that some of their clients had products for young people, including the peaceful protesters. The witness also agreed that even in the event that there was no curfew on the 20th of October, 2020 the company would naturally have engaged the multitude of young Nigerians who were engaged in the peaceful protest for good governance at the Toll-Gate in order to ensure that the advertised products reached them. The company supported the protesters as its own target audience and also has no animosity towards them.
The witness also agreed that if it were convenient, their would be no reason not to reach out to the protesters as they were their target audience. He confirmed that due to the curfew which was to commence at 4pm, there was no one to turn on the generator and also no one to advertise to at the Toll-Gate. He concurred with the fact that to keep the LED installation working, the company would have required personnel on ground; thereby violating the curfew. He also agreed that by asking its staff to leave by 3pm, the company expected that the State would protect its properties. The company did not expect that its installations and properties would be vandalized. Lastly, he reiterated the company’s installations were not protected and that he was not in a position to tell the Panel what happened or if there was shooting or not after its staff had vacated the premises of the toll-gate at 3pm on the 20th October 2020.
Cross-Examination of Mr. Abimbola Eniola by Mr. Adesina Ogunlana At the resumed hearing, Mr. Ogunlana asked the witness to repeat his name to the Panel. The witness stated his name as Abimbola Eniola. He is a Yoruba man from Ondo State and he had been in the employment of the Company as the Company
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Secretary since its inception. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2012. He confirmed that he gave evidence in respect of what led to the switching off of the billboard on the 20th of October, 2020 before the Panel. When asked to confirm that the evidence he gave was from information relayed to him by the technical team as opposed to first hand knowledge. The witness responded by stating that as the Company Secretary, he had personal knowledge of the facts he testified to before the Panel. He confirmed that the Head of the Human Resources Department of his Company is Chisa Oladebo, who gave the directive for the billboard to be switched off. He noted that she sent the Governor’s memo concerning the curfew to the company’s group chat. He indicated that the message was directed to the Operations team, who had been working outside since all staff had been working from home. He reiterated that Chisa Oladebo directed the staff operating the billboard to switch same off all the bill boards. He noted that the billboard at the Toll-Gate was not the only one that was switched off. All other billboards were expected to go off by 3pm. He went on to inform the Panel that the Head of Operations was one Mr. Lucky (witness noted that he could not remember the surname), who was not at the facility on the 20th of October, 2020. The only personnel at the bill board on the day of the incident was one Mr. Kor Asue, the generator man whose duty was to switch on the generator when the public power supply went out.
He stated the name of the Managing Director of the company as Mr. Aderele Olusoga. He noted that the only member of the Tinubu family in the company is Mr Seyi Tinubu, who is a shareholder and doubles as a Director. He further noted that he knows Mr Seyi Tinubu, and he is a majority shareholder. That his duty as the Company Secretary was to organize board meetings, give the company general and legal advice on actions it seeks to take. He stated that he is not a technical person, but a Lawyer and his expertise is in advertising, as he has worked in advertising for eight (8) years. He also confirmed that although he was not an engineer, he has a foundational idea of advertising content, target market and so on, by virtue of the position he holds. Mr. Ogunlana then requested the witness to speak on advertising content since he has become an expert by virtue of ‘long usage.’ The witness responded stating that advertisement was meant for a target audience and that some types of adverts were for banks and telecommunications who are their customers.
He disagreed that the purpose of switching off the lights at the Toll Gate was to throw the place in darkness. The purpose of the Bill Board was actually not to illuminate the Toll Gate. He emphasized that although the billboard was a big one, it did not serve the purpose of lighting up the Toll Gate. He further insisted that that the purpose of the bill board was not to provide light or illumination to the Toll Gate. He also informed the Panel that the company did not resume operations after the incident until March, 2021.
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SUMMONS ISSUED ON PROFFESSOR JOHN OBAFUNWA
Mr. J. Owonikoko, SAN with Olukayode Enitan, SAN, Jerry Briggs, J. Tony and Y. Olabode for the Lagos State Government.
Mr. Olumide Fusika, SAN with Rabiat Fawehinmi-Morakinyo for named #endSARS protesters.
Mr. Adeshina Ogunlana with Mr. Ayo Ademiluyi for named #endSARS protesters. Mr. J. I. Eboseremen with Emmanuel Eze for the Nigeria Police Force. Mr. Rotimi Seriki. with Mr. Akin Elegbede for Lekki Concession Company Limited. Jonathan Ogunsanya, Counsel to the Panel.
EVIDENCE IN -CHIEF OF PROFESSOR JOHN OBAFUNWA
The witness began by stating his name as John Oladapo Obafunwa. He is an Anatomy and Forensic Pathologist from the Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, Lagos. He also confirmed that he was summoned to appear before the Panel with some documents. He noted that he is involved in Coroner services through the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and that the Office of the Chief Medical examiner is domiciled in the department of Pathology, LASUTH.
The witness then went on to state some of his qualifications as MBBS in 1980, FMC Pathology. In 1987, he obtained the FWACP while in 1989 he obtained the degree of DMJ Path. In 1991, he got the degree of MRC Pathology and in 1992 obtained the award of Forensics. In 1998, he obtained the certification of FF Path. RCPI and in 1998 obtained the FRC Pathology. In 2001, he got the Certificate in Law, from the University of Kent in 2002, his LL.B. from Northumbria, United Kingdom, 2004. He then went on to obtain the award of FCLM in 2005, MFFLM, London in 2007, FFFLM in 2009 and CAS from the University of Zurich in 2018.
Professor Obafunwa then went on to confirm that he was served with a Witness Summon and then went on to identify and confirm the Summon that was issued on him. In the absence of objection from any of the Counsel, the Summons to witness under Form A section 5C issued to Professor Obafunwa received on the 4th day of May, 2021 was admitted and marked as Exhibit A. The witness then confirmed that he had three of the Post-Mortem reports conducted on some bodies from the incident of 20th October, 2020 with him. The three (3) post-mortem reports of #EndSARS unknown persons tagged as YABA/2020/005, YABA/2020/062 and YABA/2020/041 were also tendered and admitted as Exhibit B in the absence of objections.
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When asked if he had any other documents to present to the Panel as stated in the Summons, the witness indicated that he also had three (3) compact discs (cd) containing photographs taken at the autopsy. In the absence of any objections, the cd’s marked EndSARS/YABA/2020/005, EndSARS/YABA/2020/041, EndSARS/YABA/2020/062, Autopsy Images/Radiographic images were hereby admitted together and marked Exhibit C.
The witness also indicated that he could speak to the autopsy reports without the images. He noted that he had the report for three cases he was asked to present. He explained that although the deaths of the three victims in the came about at the Lekki Toll Gate, their identities were still unknown and that was why they were only identifiable by numbers and not names. As a result, DNA samples had to be obtained from the corpses for identification purposes. He further explained the meaning of the identification given to the corpses. He also noted that the bodies were labeled in Yaba, brought to LASUTH for autopsy and then returned again to the Yaba mortuary. He stated specifically that he was only dealing with the cases presented to him.
He explained that in respect of the first corpse- ENDSARS/YABA/2020/005, YABA referred to the fact that the corpse was preserved at Yaba mortuary. He further stated that the corpse was said to be brought in from the Lekki Bridge at about 05:27pm on the 24th of October, 2020 by Officers of the State Environmental Monitoring Unit (SEMU). With the authorization from the Coroner, the autopsy in respect of the instant corpse was conducted at LASUTH on the 29th of October, 2020 starting at 12:45pm and ending at 01:50pm. The witness explained further that the procedure for the autopsy included conducting the dissection, an x-ray of the entire body for the purpose of uncovering the presence of any foreign body. The result of the x-ray is contained in the Radiologist report, signed by the Radiologist and attached to the post-mortem report. He noted that the x-ray showed a fracture of the 7th rib, body was slightly decomposing, skin slipping off and greenish decomposition. Also, the body had been embalmed to stop decomposition. There was also a laceration/gash on the left hand side of the skull, measuring 8cm by 2cm but no fracture of the underlying bone. The only injury on the inside was a fracture of the left 7th rib. The examination of other systems showed accumulation of bloody fluid in the chest cavity on both sides as well as moderate to severe decomposition. Autopsy findings led to the conclusion that the cause of death was bleeding into the chest cavity sequel to a blunt force trauma to the chest. In summary, we concluded that death was as. Result of bilateral hematoma sequel to blunt force trauma. However, he could not comment on the cause of the blunt force trauma because of the stage of decomposition.
Professor Obafunwa further submitted that samples of the organs which were taken were then looked at under the microscope. However, the results revealed nothing remarkable, but decomposition. Additionally, a Dentist carried out dental charting of
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the corpses as part of measures towards the identification of the corpses; in order to have an ante-mortem record to compare with.
In respect of the second corpse (case- 041), the identification of the deceased was also unknown, but the funeral home where the bodies were kept stated that the place of death was said to be Lekki. Death was also said to have occurred around 01:45am on the 21st of October, 2020. The witness proffered that the deceased was an adult, who had reportedly been taken to Reddington Hospital, Lekki in an unconscious state as a result of an open skull fracture which allegedly occurred on the 21st of October, 2020 at about 01:15am. The corpse was deposited at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba and transported down to Ikeja, Lagos for post-mortem on the 1st of November, 2020. The body of this corpse had also been embalmed to stop the process of decomposition.
He further proffered that the autopsy commenced at 07:45am to 11am. No bullets or pellets were found embedded in the body when an x-ray was conducted on it prior to it being cut open. The x-ray also revealed multiple skull fractures which the funeral home had packed with some materials in the process of embalmment in order to prevent the fluid from leaking out. .
Ragged sutured laceration running from the left side in the front across the vertex to the right side of the skull was observed during autopsy. Additionally, multiple fractures of the skull as well as bleeding into the brain tissue were also observed. The deceased had also suffered bruising into the left anterior chest wall in the chest as well as a fracture of the left rib. Generally, the internal organs were also pale, and this suggested that there had been severe blood loss. Incidental finding revealed the evidence of hypertensive heart disease; although this had nothing to do with the cause of death. Like the first corpse, samples were also taken for DNA studies and examined under the microscope. The results from the autopsy led to the conclusion that death occurred as a result of craniocerebral injury (severe skull and brain injury) from blunt force trauma.
The third case – 062 was also said to have died at the Lekki toll gate. The body was said to have also been recovered by the State Environmental Monitoring Unit (SEMU) who then deposited the body at the mortuary of the General Hospital, Yaba. The autopsy which was conducted began by 08:45am. The x-ray conducted, revealed the presence of the fracture of the 2nd vertebrae of the chest cavity (hole at the back), 2nd
thoracic vertebrae and also the left tibia (left leg). However, no bullet and no pellets were seen or recovered. The body had also been embalmed. The head also revealed a bruise and grazed abrasion on the left side. Similarly, the left upper limb also showed evidence of grazed abrasion. However, a defect measuring about half an inch which had been sutured was observed. Another sutured defect on the back,
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measuring about 2cm in diameter (almost an inch and bigger than the defect at the front) as well as a sutured linear laceration in the lower part of the leg were also observed.
Upon opening the deceased up, a laceration or tearing of the muscles of the chest with a defect in the intervening muscle between the first (1st) and second (2nd) rib accompanied by destruction of the major blood vessels that will normally ascend to the neck were observed. This was accompanied by severe bleeding of the right chest
cavity (650 ml). A fracture of the second (2nd) thoracic vertebrae was also seen, which the witness explained that it was the portion of the back bone in the chest. This defect, the witness noted goes right through the body of the bone and communicated with the defects at the back (the 2cm defect that was sutured). In other words, the pathologists were dealing with a small injury at the front, which went in below the first rib, damaged the major blood vessels arising from the heart, proceeded further backwards to hit the backbone at the 2nd thoracic vertebrae level and the margin at the back. This led to the damage of the upper part of the right lung and led to the conclusion that death was due to severe blood loss as a result of the destruction of a major blood vessel; which could have been caused by gunshot injury. Specifically, a rifled weapon.
The witness also tendered the compact disc which had been admitted. Same was played and the witness gave explanations while it played, stating that there was damage through the upper part of the lungs, showing tear to the wind pipe.
Cross-Examination of Professor Obafunwa by Mr. Olumide-Fusika, SAN. When asked if the witness could determine how long the suturing done on the corpse of the deceased are, the witness responded by stating that, interest was not normally placed on how old a suture is. However, he could assure that the suturing was done post-mortem and at the Mainland mortuary, Yaba where the body was kept. He confirmed that SEMU recovered the body of the deceased and took it to the mortuary. He however clarified that sutures are not a form of operation. Its purpose is simply to prevent the embalming fluid from leaking out. When asked to confirm the exact date when the body was allegedly picked up, the responded that he did not know. He however confirmed that he did come in contact with the body on the 2nd of November, 2020 when it was brought to Ikeja for autopsy, while the body was recovered on the 21st of October, 2020.
Mr. Olumide-Fusika SAN noted that in the course of the witness’s testimony, his response to one of the questions asked was: “I have reports on the deaths we are supposed to be talking about. There are three of them”. The witness confirmed that he stated so, but went on to explain that based on the summons he received; he believed that he was asked to come speak on the Lekki cases. Professor Obafunwa further confirmed that he did not go about scavenging for bodies; and that if he was
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not told that a body was recovered from Lekki, he wouldn’t know. He went on to restate that he is a Professor of Forensic Pathology and his role in the department of Pathology at LASUTH is that he teaches Anatomy and Forensic Medicine, he is a Consultant in the Teaching Hospital and also participates in Coroner’s autopsies.
When asked to recall a Call/public announcement in newspapers by the Chief Coroner of Lagos State for the purposes of identifying missing persons, the witness clarified that the advert was not for members of the public to come forward to identify bodies. Rather, the advert was an invitation for the public to meet with the Pathologists towards identifying bodies. This was because there were bodies that could be looked at and immediately identified; while there were bodies that required DNA tests for identification.
When further asked if he knew that the advert specifically mentioned people who had lost their loved ones between 19th and 27th of October, 2020, the witness agreed, even though he did not have the record with him. When Mr. Olumide-Fusika SAN started to read out the contents of the announcement, Mr. Owonikoko, SAN objected on the ground that the proper procedure was for Mr. Olumide-Fusika to produce the document and show same to him. Only then, can the witness speak to it. The Panel consequently ruled that where a party is leading a witness in respect of a document, the document ought to be put in evidence first.
Mr. Olumide-Fusika SAN asked Professor Obafunwa to confirm that there was an advertisement to the public, that the date in reference was the 19th – 27th October, 2020 even though he did not have the document with him and that the people who responded to the Call had to come to his department.
When asked how many corpses were brought before 19th and 27th of October, 2020 the witness responded by stating that the Coroner instructed his department to carry out autopsies on bodies recovered between 20th and 24th October, 2020, not just in respect of bodies recovered in Lekki but also from Ajah, Surulere, Fagba, Ikorodu and Ikoyi Prisons totaling 99 bodies. The witness noted that he did not have the date each of the bodies was deposited with him at that material time. However, he could look for those records. At this point, Mr. Olumide-Fusika made an Application for the witness to bring the records of the ninety-nine (99) bodies.
Mr. Olukayode Enitan SAN, however objected on the grounds that it was outside the Terms of Reference of the Panel, and the witness was only summoned to give evidence and submit report(s) in respect of the examinations he/his Office conducted on the corpses of the bodies in respect of the incident of the 20th of October, 2020, which occurred at the Lekki toll gate Admiralty Circle, Lekki, Lagos in order to assist the Panel in getting to the truth of the matter. As such, the Application made by Mr. Olumide
Fusika will amount to inviting the Panel to go beyond its Terms of Reference. Thus, said
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Application should be summarily refused. While aligning himself with the position of Mr. Olukayode Enitan SAN, Mr. Rotimi Seriki Esq. also urged the Panel to take cognizance of the fact that it had very limited time to conclude its assignment. Further, that the implication of granting the Application will be that all the other Counsel will be unable to conduct their own cross-examinations because Mr. Olumide-Fusika SAN, would be yet to conclude his. In addition, Mr. Olumide-Fusika ought to have requested for a Summon for the autopsy records of all corpses in Lagos State within the specific period contained in the advert under reference. He consequently urged the Panel to discountenance the Application and direct Mr. Olumide-Fusika to close his cross examination so Counsel can conduct theirs.
Mr. Adesina Ogunlana however opined that it would amount to shutting out Mr. Olumide-Fusika’s request since the witness had given evidence that he and his team attended to ninety-nine (99) corpses. Most importantly, the purport of the Panel’s assignment was to search for the truth. Mrs. Amanda Asagba (for the NBA) concurred with this position. Mr. J.I. Eboseremen Esq. also aligned himself with Mr. Olukayode Enitan SAN and Mr. Rotimi Seriki’s positions.
In a considered Ruling, the Panel held that the evidence that only three (3) bodies were recovered from the Lekki toll gate incident needed to be further investigated; especially as the essence of setting up the Panel itself was for the matter to be investigated in order to arrive at a just conclusion as well as the position of majority of the members of the Panel. As such, the Application for adjournment to enable the witness produce the other autopsy results of all the recovered bodies is granted and the proceeding adjourned to the 19th of June, 2021.
At the resumed Hearing date, Mr. Olumide-Fusika, SAN continued his cross examination of the witness by reminding him that the cross-examination on the last adjourned date stopped at the point in which the witness was told to produce autopsies of the other corpses. Professor Obafunwa in response first began by clarifying that he is a Forensic Pathologist working in the Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, LASUTH in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner domiciled in that department. Secondly, he used to be the Chief Medical Examiner for Lagos State and lastly, that he was not involved in the recovery or gathering of the bodies. He was only officially invited to get involved in the matter on the 20th of October, 2020 which was well over a week after the Lekki Toll Gate incident. Based on this, he believed that he was not required to bring the autopsy reports, but documents showing when the bodies came in, the body/agency that brought the boy in and so on. When the Panel informed him that he was required to bring the autopsy reports of the other ninety-six (96) bodies, the witness indicated his willingness to bring all the reports as well as the compact discs as he did not have them with him. That what he had at the moment were papers of entries into the mortuaries, the list from the Medical Director at Ikorodu
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