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#EndSARS: Lagos Govt Releases White Paper, Disagrees With Judicial Panel On Killing Of Protesters

 

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The White Paper on the report by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and other matters has been released.

Naija News reports the White Paper was released on Tuesday night in accordance with the promise made by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu earlier on the same day.

According to a report, the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu disagreed with the judicial panel of inquiry and rejected its earlier submission that nine persons were killed at the Lekki Toll Gate when soldiers opened fire on protesters last year.

The Lagos State government in the White Paper, described the claim of killings by the panel as “assumptions and speculations”.

It will be recalled that the Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel set up by the state government to investigate the shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekii Toll Gate on October 20, 2020 while presenting its report about two weeks ago (15th November) stated that lives were lost during the Lekki Toll Gate incident.

It is further understood that while the panel made 32 recommendations, the Lagos Government according to the White Paper only accepted 11.

One was totally rejected and six others accepted with modifications.

14 recommendations said to be outside the powers of the Lagos State Government will be forwarded to the Federal Government for consideration.

The white paper reads in part: “The JPI’s finding of nine deaths is therefore irreconcilable with evidence of Prof. Obafunwa that only one person died of gunshot wounds at 7:43pm at Lekki Tollgate on 21st October, 2020.

“Having held that, there was no evidence before it to the contrary of what Prof. Obafunwa said. The question is, where did JPI then get its finding of nine deaths?”

It added that “This finding of nine (9) deaths at LTG on 20th October 2020 is even more baffling because apart from listing out their names in tabular form at pages 297-298, the JPI offered no explanation regarding circumstances of their death. The names simply sprang up at pages 297-298 of the report without any justification.

“It is quite astonishing that in the list of eleven (11) deaths set out at pages 297-298, two (2) of the names appeared twice (Kolade Salami and Folorunsho Olabisi as Nos. 37 and 38). Furthermore, the person listed as No. 46 Nathaniel Solomon who testified as a witness and petitioned the JPI in respect of his brother who he alleged died at Lekki Tollgate (LTG), himself listed as having died at LTG on 20th October 2020.

“Remarkably, Nathaniel Solomon’s deceased brother (Abuta Solomon) was then also listed as No 2 on the list of persons who died at LTG.

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

“Another substantial inconsistency in the JPI Report was the award y compensation to only one (1) out of the alleged nine (9), listed as “deceased” which showed that the JPI itself had doubts as to the death of eight (8) other allegedly deceased persons on its list.”