The Lagos Judicial panel of inquiry on dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) brutality and other matters yesterday recovered no fewer than five additional bullet cartridges from the Lekki Tollgate, where #EndSARS protesters were allegedly attacked by military personnel in the state. Saturday Telegraph gathered that the panel recovered the items during an unscheduled visit to the tollgate to obtain valuable evidence that could aid it in unravelling what transpired before, during, and after the attack on the protesters barely 10 days ago in Lagos. The Chairman of the nineman panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi (retd), visited the scene of the attack and inspected the facility to ascertain the damage and obtain evidence that could assist the ongoing investigations in the state. The visit, which was carried out yesterday, after resumption of hearing to allow Lekki Concession Company (LCC), managers of the tollgate, and other victims of SARS brutality present their cases.
LCC: We’re ready to work with panel
Prior to the visit, the management of the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) through its Head of Legal Department, Gbolahan Agboluwaje, had expressed its readiness to show the footage of the shootings of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate by soldiers. While appearing before the panel, Agboluwaje disclosed that the footage of the October 20, shootings of the #EndSARS protesters by soldiers is available, stressing that his appearance was sequel to a summon served on the company by the panel. Agboluwaje told the panel that due to the short notice of the summoning, the Managing Director (MD) of LCC, Mr. Omomuwa, would not be able to testify because the company was yet to hire an external counsel to represent the MD. Mr Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN) announced his appearance as the counsel representing the Lagos State Government. Responding, Justice Okuwobi granted Agboluwaje’s request for a short adjournment. Justice Okuwobi noted that the programme of the day for the panel was to visit the locus (scene of the Lekki Shooting) and to have proceedings based on their findings from the visit. It was learnt that during the investigation, Rinu Oduala, a youth on the panel, discovered the bullet cartridges displayed and it was added to the evidence to be examined by the panel to unravel perpetrators of the attack. Mr Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN) announced his appearance as the counsel representing the Lagos State.
Footage of Lekki shooting incident with us –LCC
Speaking while been cross-examined by the panel, the Chief Executive Officer of LCC, Mr. Yomi Omomuwasan, said the visuals were captured by the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera and that they were never removed before the shooting that occurred on October 20. He said: “The LCC is prepared to air the footage before the panel but no investigative report or document is available. We have the footage. “We do not have an investigation report because we know that investigations are ongoing and we have not been able to provide any document. We had a very short notice and we brought what we were able to lay our hands on.” In her response, the panel’s chairperson, Justice Okuwobi, said proceedings would be adjourned to allow for a visit to the scene of shooting. She said: “We were initially to take note of what we see at the locus and today’s (yesterday’s) proceedings was to be subsequent to what we see there. The panel will arise very shortly to visit the locus. “The panel noted that it is required of the witness to have a counsel of his choice. We will not take the proceedings of the visit of the locus until then.”
Panel inspects Ikoyi Military Hospital, morgue despite resistance
Despite the initially stiff resistance it received from soldiers guarding the facility, before they were allowed in after about 30 minutes, members of the Lagos State judicial panel of inquiry on police brutality yesterday visited the military hospital in Ikoyi and the morgue inside the facility. Saturday Telegraph gathered that the initial resistance was occasioned by the unplanned visit to the facilities, which sources attributed to “lack of communication”. So far, 15 petitions have since been received by the panel. It was also gathered that the panel had embarked on the facilities tour as part of its numerous inspections of some locations it said were relevant to its task as it investigates the shooting of #End- SARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20. During its unscheduled visit to the Military Hospital in Ikoyi, where it initially met stiff resistance from soldiers guarding the facility, before they were allowed in after about 30 minutes, the members inspected the morgue, which has been under renovation since October 2019, according to a senior officer, who took the team on the tour. The panel left the premises after the tour. However, arriving the facility about 1.40pm, the military officers at the gate of the hospital prevented the panel from gaining access into the facility requesting that the media should not make video recordings or take photos. Ms Patience Udoh, a member of the panel, informed the officers that the panel of inquiry had the backing of the Presidency and the law to pay unscheduled visits to any facility as part of their investigations. The military officers however insisted that a letter should have been written informing the Nigerian Army of the panel’s visit beforehand. Addressing journalists thereafter, a member of the panel, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), said the panel has ‘confidential information’ that certain events took place in the hospital on October 20. He told journalist attached to the team before they were granted access that, “we are exercising our mandate on behalf of the governor of Lagos State under the tribunals of inquiry law. “We have already inspected the Lekki Tollgate today (yesterday) and we decided to pay an unscheduled visit to the mortuary of the Military Hospital because we have confidential information concerning certain events that took place in the hospital here. “We are waiting for them to grant us access to inspect the mortuary because we have reasons to believe that that facility is relevant to our investigation.”
Ogun panel receives 20 petitions
The Ogun State Judicial Panel of investigation yesterday said it had received no fewer than 20 petitions from victims of police brutality and human rights abuse by security operatives within the last two weeks of inauguration. The Chairman of the panel, Hon. Justice Solomon Olugbemi (Rtd), told journalists after a meeting with members of the panel in Abeokuta, that the maiden sitting of the Panel would hold on November, 5. The panel, which was inaugurated by Governor Dapo Abiodun two weeks ago, is charged with the responsibility of investigating complaints of police brutality, human rights violations and related extra-judicial killings. Justice Olugbemi noted that the panel sitting days would be Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays starting by 10am at the Magistrate Court 1, Isabo, Abeokuta. He said: “We have received 20 petitions already and sitting starts immediately.” The chairman called on members of the public who have complaints to send in their petitions to the Secretary of the Panel or send online to endsarsjudicialpanel@ogunstate. gov.ng assuring that justice would be delivered.
Activist, Aisha Yesufu, decries cruel treatment
in mosques Prominent Nigerian human rights activist, Aisha Yesufu, yesterday took to social media to criticise her fellow Islamic brethren, who have approached her with cruel intentions. According to Yesufu, who has remained one of the most outspoken activists amid the #EndProtest, several critics have cursed her and expressed spiteful words at her in worship centres, she said people now finish their prayers in their mosques and then proceed to lay curses on her. Aisha, who revealed this on her verified Twitter account yesterday morning, said: “Heard I am being cursed in mosques! People finish praying and take time out to curse me in their prayers. “I have asked they should please let me know how many of these curses they rained on me when I was making the same demands during GEJ! We are all already cursed in Nigeria.” Equally important, Aisha Yesufu said she has been identified as one of the patriotic Nigerians, who have been fighting for years for good governance in the country. Despite her heroics, she was called out a couple of days ago by a social media critic. The critic called her out for spearheading the #End- SARS protest as a Muslim lady. Sharing the argument on social media, Oreoluwa wrote: “A brother to a friend just posted this picture on his Whatsapp status. She tweeted: “I chat him up and he said Islam is Against Protests. I asked him what is Jihad? He responded that Fighting in the cause of Allah by the rulings of Allah. “In fact, I asked further that is Killing of Muslim brothers by the SARs and calling to end SARs a Jihad cause or not? “He responded by referring me to read Quran chapter 9. I gave it straight to him; “You are very Stupid with corrupted brain beyond repair. You have been brainwashed by some Islamic sect and I am disassociating myself with you. #RealRubbish.”
Sanwo-Olu relaxes curfew from 6am to 10pm
The Lagos State Government in a bid to further ease the curfew it imposed in the state, following the breakdown of law and order during the #ENDSARS protests, has relaxed the time of the curfew. The new curfew time now starts at 10pm and ends at 6am daily. The state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, in a statement yesterday said Governor Babajide Sanwo- Olu, had approved it. The statement added: “He urges all Lagosians to go about their businesses in peace, even as they shun actions that can threaten our unity.”
DJ Switch alleges threat to life
Disc jockey, Obianuju Catherine Udeh (aka DJ Switch), yesterday said she continues to receive death threats over her revelation concerning the shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki tollgate. DJ Switch disclosed this in a recent interview she granted New York-based magazine, GQ, saying that she feels “frightened” due to the threats adding that she hopes she does not die in the process. She said: “I have already been threatened. Of course, I’m frightened. I can’t even lie about that. I’m scared.” She also narrated how her friend who works in the intelligence agency cautioned her to avoid the streets. “He called and said, ‘Please Switch, we actually need you to get away from the street because right now you have been marked as the face of that protest,” she added. However, the entertainer stated that she would continue to tell the story that transpired at the Lekki tollgate. Her account of the incident, especially her claim that about 15 persons were killed and taken away from the scene by soldiers remains a subject of controversy as no family, relatives or friends of any of the alleged victims have come forward to authorities, journalists or even rights groups including Amnesty International. “It doesn’t stop me from saying the truth. I’m still going to say it, and I just hope I’m not going to die,” she added.
CSP Catherine Ugorji, bags UN award
CSP Catherine Ugorji of the Nigerian Police Force, who is serving with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), has been selected by the UN as one of two runners-up for the prestigious UN Woman Police Officer of the Year award for 2020. The UN Under-Secretary- General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix said Ugorji exemplifies the best of UN policing in words and action. Ugorji joined the Nigerian Police in 2003 and served as Criminal Investigator from the local to the regional level, Child Protection Officer, Divisional Crime Officer up to Acting Deputy Commander of the Ogudu Police Division in Lagos. The UN said 1,300 UN policewomen were deployed to its peacekeeping operations and out of which twenty-one were nominated for the award. The award would be presented during a virtual ceremony presided over by Mr Lacroix on Tuesday, November 3. However, the UN Police Advisor, Luis Carrilho, congratulated Ugorji for being chosen as a runner-up and described her leadership of “three Formed Police Units (FPU) in Gao” as remarkable. “Catherine has introduced tactical operations that have been instrumental in reducing crime in the area, in support of the Malian security forces and the host population. “In addition to this very demanding role, Chief Superintendent Ugorji has worked diligently to improve living conditions for women police officers so they can serve safely and with dignity”, Carrilho said.
Why we’re off Lagos roads – LASTMA
The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) yesterday explained why officials of the authority stayed off the roads in Lagos. LASTMA General Manager, Olajide Oduyoye said its officers stayed off the road “owing to the recent #EndSARS violence which resulted in looting, arson and destruction of 12 LASTMA zonal offices and physical attacks of LASTMA officers.” He said the attack had left unfortunate physical and psychological scars on LASTMA operational personnel. “All the same, we are taking stock, restructuring and restrategizing and this is the reason why we have only about sixty percent of our beats at some strategic intersections/ junctions to eliminate frictions, reduce delays and ensure better flow of traffic.”