Barely a week after the Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel on police brutality and the October 20, 2020 alleged massacre at the #EndSARS Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos submitted its report, a member, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), has cried out over threats to his life.
Adegboruwa, who represented the civil society groups on the panel of enquiry, said already an EndSARS protester, Kamsiyochukwu Ibe, who testified before the panel has been attacked and macheted.
Persecondnews.com had reported that the panel had on November 15 submitted its report to Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and since then the report has been in circulation with scathing condemnation and criticisms trailing the roles of the military and the police in the Lekki shooting as well as denials by senior federal government officials that live bullets were not fired or people killed.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu has since constituted a Committee to produce a White Paper on the report within two weeks for the consideration of the Lagos State Executive Council.
The report stated that at least nine persons were confirmed dead at the Lekki toll plaza when soldiers invaded the arena in the night to “disperse’’ EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020.
The 309-page report stated, “The atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless and unresisting protesters while sitting on the floor and waving their Nigerian flags and while singing the National Anthem can be equated to a massacre in context.”
Some lawyers and agents representing the state government including Abiodun Owonikoko, have, however, faulted the report of the panel, noting that the report contained 40 discrepancies.
The fiery human rights lawyer said in a statement:“Since the submission of the report of the Lagos #EndSARS Panel, there have been lots of threats and attacks, by those suspected to be agents of the government, upon me, especially in the media.
“I have not committed any crime beyond joining other eminent Nigerians with unblemished integrity, to accept the nomination of government on behalf of my constituency, the Nigerian Bar Association and the civil society and the indeed the masses of our people, for a national assignment.
“Two prominent lawyers of the government have openly incited opinions against me on national television, with mindless accusations.
I have however refused to be intimidated or bend to the tactics of government to be silenced.’’
Pointing fingers at the government, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa also stated: “I urge the good people of Nigeria, my professional colleagues in the Nigerian Bar Association, my comrades in the civil rights movement and the people of Nigeria, to hold government responsible should anything happen to me.
“Just last night, one of the prominent EndSARS protesters who testified before the Panel, Miss Kamsiyochukwu Ibe, was attacked and dealt serious machete blows, in what was clearly an attempted murder, as reported by her counsel, with very disturbing photos.
“I heeded the clarion call to serve by the government with the honest believe that the Panel was meant to say the truth and nothing but the truth, which is what we have done. It is left for government and Nigerians to do the needful with the report of the Panel.
“God bless Nigeria.’’
Many well-meaning Nigerians and organizations including a newspaper publisher and former Managing Director of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Bayo Onanuga, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and some PDP lawmakers in the House of Representatives had called for the resignation or sack of Information Minister Lai Mohammed for “telling a lie, denying that there was no massacre.’’
Mohammed had stridently claimed that there was no evidence to show that any protester was killed at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020 during a press conference held in Abuja who young people took to the streets nationwide to mark the first anniversary of the EndSARS protests.
He also faulted the claim by Amnesty International that no fewer than 12 protesters were killed in Lagos State by security operatives during the EndSARS protest, describing the claim as a ‘phantom’.
Mohammed asked the highly reputed Cable News Network (CNN), DJ Switch among others to “apologise for misleading the world that there was a massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate and for portraying the Nigerian military, police and other security agencies in a bad light.”
Onanuga said:”Nigeria is the only country in the world where public officials rarely resign, when they betray public trust egregiously or openly lie to the people.
“We now know the truth that there was indeed a massacre of defenceless young Nigerians by soldiers and policemen at the Lekki Toll Gate on 20-10-2020, contrary to the official lies that it didn’t happen.”
On the disinformation about the state-organized massacre of unarmed protesting youths at the plaza by security forces including soldiers, Onanuga said: “The man who told the biggest lie and even embarrassed Nigeria by demanding an apology from CNN is still sitting pretty in office.
“Now that his lies have blown on his face, one expects that he should be honourable enough to resign and apologise to all those young Nigerians that he grossly offended.
“If he does not, one expects the President to demand his resignation letter. Nigeria deserves to be a country of honourable men and women.”
To President Muhammadu Buhari, Onanuga said:”Integrity should be our watchword. President Integrity, over to you…”
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria has called for the dismissal, arrest, and trial of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, for alleged falsehood as to what transpired at the Lekki tollgate, Lagos State on October 20th, 2020.
The organisation claimed the minister lied to Nigerians, adding that his claims have now been contradicted by a judicial panel in Lagos.
It said in a statement issued against the backdrop of the issuance of a conclusive judicial report by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Investigations into the Lekki incident last year.
Though Mohammed had claimed there was no killing, the panel said there was a massacre in ‘context’.