The White Paper released by Lagos State Government on Tuesday has denounced the report of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the Lekki incident investigation on 20th, October, 2020.
The Judicial Panel of inquiry had in one of its 32 recommendations in the Lekki Toll Gate Incident recommended , ‘’ A moment of memorializing the lives lost and those injured at the Lekki Toll Gate with names inscribed on the monument.’’
The state government in its comment vehemently rejected the recommendation, saying it is not acceptable in the sense that it contradicted ,’’The evidence of Pathologist Prof. Obafunwa that only three of the bodies that he conducted post mortem examination on were from Lekki and only one had gun shot injury and this was not debunked. We deemed it credible as the contrary was not presented before the panel.’’
The state government’s White Paper further posited that, ‘’This finding of nine (9) deaths at LTG on 20 October is even – more baffling because apart from listing out their names in that 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 at pages 297-298, two (2) of the names appeared twice (Kolade Salam, 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 LTC, himself listed as having died at LTG on 20th October 2020, Remarkably, Nathaniel Solomon’s deceased brother (Abata Soloma, was then also listed as No2 on the list of persons who died at LTG.
‘’The only victim of gunshot injury from LTG was picked up at 7:43, on 21th October 2020 after the curfew commenced (see page 99). Furthermore, there-was no-shred of evidence regarding who shot him’’
The White paper further pointed out that another substantial inconsistency in the JPI Report was the award of compensation to only one out of the alleged nine (9), listed as “deceased” which showed that the JPI itself had doubts as to the death of eight other allegedly deceased persons on its list.
‘’The JPI also surprisingly awarded the sum of N10m to one Serah Ibrahim (listed as No. 14 on Page 304 of the Report). Serah Ibrahim was neither a Petitioner nor a Claimant before the JPI. At Page 179 of the Report, Serah Ibrahim testified on oath that she did not have any petition before the Panel; neither did she have any claims for compensation. This award to Serah Ibrahim is also contrary to the provisions of section 13 of the Tribunal of Inquiry Law 2015 (Cap. T6 La of Lagos State) which prescribes that only witnesses summoned by a Tribunal of Inquiry are entitled to witness fees subject to consent of the Attorney General. Serah Ibrahim did not testify at the request or summons of the Tribunal.’’
The White Paper added: ‘’On the basis of the above fundamental inconsistencies in the findings of the JPI regarding the nine (9) deaths at LTG and particularly because the findings are clearly and mainly rot supported by evidence, before the JPI as attested to by the JPI itself, when it said there was no contrary evidence to that of Prof. Obafunwa that only one person died at LTG of gunshot wounds at LTG on 20th October 2020.
‘’The Government is therefore unable to accept the finding that nine people died of gunshot wounds at LTG on 20 October 2020.’’
As it relates to the role played by the military in the saga , the White Paper said that aspect had been referred to the Federal Government.