The Lagos State Judicial Panel confirms a massacre took place on October 20

a recognised massacre

A year on from the deadly shootings at the Lekki toll gate, Mushin and other environs in Lagos, the state judicial panel charged to investigate the crimes committed against Nigerian citizens by elected armed officers have reported that what took place on October 20, 2020 could be considered a “massacre.”

This admittance by the Lagos judicial panel contradicts previously held accounts by the Lagos state government and the Nigerian Army who vehemently denied the death of Nigerian citizens on the night in question. The report, which took more than a year to produce, accuses Nigerian Army officers of having “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.”


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Officially inaugurated over a year ago, on the 19th of October, the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Victims of Police Brutality and Other Related Matters was set up to ensure speedy inquiry or restitution on SARS activities, extortion, and extra-judicial killings of citizens with a view to delivering justice and compensating survivors and their families. The panel’s jurisdiction was further extended following the deadly attacks on October 20, 2020 when allegations surfaced that officers of the Nigerian Army and police had fired live rounds at peaceful protesters.

Up to now, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu had previously announced that “forces beyond [his] direct control” were responsible for last year’s brutal attack even going as far as to claim no lives were lost on national tv, implying that the video evidence we all saw via live-stream were doctored. The Lagos State government has only doubled down on this position as the months have gone by, conflating the truth and choosing instead to engage in a fake news campaign against international media houses such as CNN whose scathing investigation threatened to expose the forces at play.

The panel also found “the conduct of the Nigerian Army was exacerbated by its refusal to allow ambulances render medical assistance to victims who required such assistance. The Army was also found not to have adhered to its own Rules of Engagement.” According to the 300-page report, the Nigerian Police Force were also deployed to the Lekki toll gate where they “shot, assaulted and battered unarmed protesters, which led to several death and injuries. The police officers also tried to cover up their actions by picking up the bullets.


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The report goes on to state that the LCC hampered the panel’s investigation by refusing to turn over some useful information and evidence as requested by the panel while also causing a nuisance to the investigation by manipulating the incomplete CCTV video footage of the Lekki toll gate on the night in question. There was also a further attempt to cover up the incident of the 20th of October by cleaning up the toll gate and failing to preserve the scene ahead of the investigations.

Based on these atrocious findings, the panel also included a number of 32 recommendations for the government which include but are not limited to: holistic police reforms, sanctioning defaulting officers in the Army and the police, development of more robust engagement between the youth and the government, a public apology to survivors and victims, the memorialisation and more.

While these findings have been widely believed and upheld by many young Nigerians, many of who witnessed these atrocious crimes and death in real-time, the Lagos state judicial panel report now goes a step further to consolidate what many of us already knew. With a year gone since these heinous crimes on Nigerian soil, many young Nigerians are yet to see anyone take full responsibility for these killings but this report throws a new spanner in the works, opening up the necessary conversations that would be required for restitution.

Featured image credits/Guardian

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