The counsel representing #EndSARS protesters before the Lagos State Panel of Judicial Inquiry probing the alleged shooting of the protesters by soldiers at the Lekki tollgate, Mr Adesina Ogunlana, has said his team has evidence to counter the claim by the Nigerian Army that there was no massacre or killings of protesters at the tollgate on the night of October 20.
In response to a summons by the judicial panel, the Nigerian Army had on Friday filed its defence papers and listed three Brigadier Generals and one Lieutenant Colonel to testify before the panel.
The army submitted to the panel statements on oath deposed to by the top military officers, who insisted that only blank ammunition were filed to disperse the protesters.
The Nigerian Army said it was bringing before the panel expended and unexpended blank ammunition used by its troops as well as “13 flash drives containing the recorded videos of the soldiers’ involvement in the incident.”
But during the viewing of a CCTV footage submitted by the Lekki Concession Company on Friday before the panel, counsel for #EndSARS protesters, Ogunlana, had said, “We lost lives here, you lost money.”
When our correspondent asked him on the telephone on Tuesday if his clients have any evidence contrary to the Army’s position, Ogunlana said his team had videos and photographs.
He said, “What I can tell you is that we have records, we have photographs, we have videos and more than all these, we have blood and flesh eyewitnesses; not ghosts.
“The truth remains the truth. We have been given a copy of the LCC footage and we are working on it. If not for the stoppage of the workings of the tribunal because of the issue of freezing of account of #EndSARS protesters, including a panel member, we would have made progress.”
Though the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel had on Friday adjourned till Tuesday to continue with the viewing of the 20-hour CCTV footage submitted by the LCC, operator of the Lekki tollgate, the Tuesday’s sitting did not hold due to the decision of the youth members of the panel to start boycotting the panel sitting since last Saturday.
The youth members, Oluwarinu Oduala and Temitope Majekodunmi, boycotted the panel sitting to protest the freezing of the bank accounts of #EndSARS promoters, including Oduala’s, by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Justice Okuwobi said without the youth members, the panel could not form a quorum to sit.
Reps to probe Lekki shooting
The Chairman of the House committee on Army, Namdas Abdulrazak, has said the House of Representatives intends to investigate the shooting by soldiers at unarmed protesters at Lekki in Lagos State.
He spoke in Gombe on Monday while on oversight visit to the state with members of his committee.
According to Abdulrazak, “we as a committee will also investigate the Lekki shooting. We won’t like a situation where the army is unduly accused; it should subjected to investigation. The good thing is that the army has chosen to investigate but because we will equally investigate.”
While calling on the Federal Government to professionalise the military, Abdulrazak said they are overstretched and are made to meddle in civil duties meant for the police.
Six in court over vandalisation
The police in Ekiti State on Tuesday arraigned six persons before an Ado-Ekiti Chief Magistrates’ Court for rioting and vandalisation of the property of Ekiti State Government during the #EndSARS protests.
The defendants – Adebayo Temitope, 32; Ibrahim Musau, 25; Eze Oluwabunmi, 32; Ogunlusi Abiodun, 20; Arowosegbe Esther, 17; and Peter Joy, 21 – are standing trial on three counts of conspiracy, illegal assembly and rioting.
The police prosecutor, Mr Caleb Leranmo, told the court that the defendants committed the offence on October in Ikole -Ekiti.
He said, “The defendants maliciously damaged Ikole Local Government Secretariat building, windows and windscreen of five vehicles which value is yet unknown, all property of the Ekiti State Government”.
“The offence is punishable under sections 71 and 451 of the Criminal Code, Cap. C 16, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012,” he said.
After the defendants pleaded not guilty, their counsel, Mr Gbenga Ariyibi and Victoria Adelu, prayed the court to grant bail to the defendants.
The Chief Magistrate, Mr Abdulhamid Lawal, granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N100,000 with one surety each.
He adjourned the matter till December 9.
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