The Lagos State government has said the findings of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry that nine persons were killed at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, last year, is incorrect.
According to a white paper released Tuesday, the state government said the “finding of nine 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 the circumstances of their death.”
The government made this claim while reacting to the 24th recommendation of the panel that “a monument memorializing the lives lost and those injured at the Lekki Toll Gate with the names inscribed on the Monument,” be created.
In the white paper, the Lagos State government said the recommendation “is not acceptable.”
This, it stated, is due to the testimony of John Obafunwa, the chief pathologist at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), that “only three of the bodies that they conducted post-mortem examination on were from Lekki and only one had gunshot injury and this was not debunked.”
Aside from dismissing the findings that nine persons were killed, the government said it disagreed with the findings that hospitals treated victims of gunshot wounds from Lekki tollgate on the night of the shooting.
This is despite the numerous medical reports tendered to the judicial panel by hospitals that treated victims of gunshot injuries from the Lekki tollgate.
Several petitioners also narrated how they were shot at the tollgate, and showed wounds of gunshot injuries sustained to the panel, backed up by the medical reports tendered by the hospitals that treated them.
Hospitals such as Reddington Hospital, Vedic Life Healthcare, and Grandville Trauma Centre, confirmed that some patients were referred for amputation due to the severity of the gunshot injuries sustained.
Deaths, injuries Irreconcilable – Govt
Reacting to the number of deaths recorded at the Lekki tollgate, the state government said there was no evidence.
“The names simply sprang up at pages 297-298 of the report without any justification. It is quite astonishing that in the list of 11 deaths set out on pages 297-298, two of the names appeared twice (Kolade Salami and Folorunsho Olabisi as Nos. 37 and 38),” the government said.
It also said that Nathaniel Solomon, who was listed as the 46th victim of the Lekki incident, testified as a witness and petitioned the panel in respect of his brother whom he alleged died at Lekki tollgate, but the petitioner himself was listed as having died at the tollgate on October 20, last year.
“The JPI’s finding of nine deaths is therefore irreconcilable with the evidence of Prof. Obafunwa that only one person died of gunshot wounds at 7:43 pm at LTG 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 the JPI then get its finding of nine deaths?
Lagos State Judicial Panel
“The only victim of gunshot injury from LTG was picked up at 7:43 pm on 21st October 2020 after the curfew commenced (see page 99). Furthermore, there was no sired of evidence regarding who shot him,” the government said.
The Lagos State government further pointed out that “another substantial inconsistency in the JPI Report was the award of compensation to the one out of the alleged nine, listed as ‘deceased’ which showed that the JPI itself had doubts as to the death of eight other allegedly deceased persons on its list.”