The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has demanded criminal prosecution against individuals found to have committed the massacre that happened on October 20, 2020, at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos.
CAPPA made the call following the findings of the #EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution constituted by the Lagos government.
The panel which sat for over a year submitted its findings to the Lagos state government On Monday 15th November 2021. The report establishes the fact that Nigeria’s Army led by Lt. Col Bello was at Lekki Gate on October 20, 2020, and further described the event of that day as a ‘’massacre in a context’’.
In the 309-page report, the judicial panel confirms the Lekki shooting and goes further to publish the list of victims and casualties of the Lekki shooting, indicting the Nigerian Army and police of complicity in the death of protesters at the Lekki Tollgate.
Part of the recommendations of the panel included that all men of the Nigerian Army excluding Major General Omata that were deployed to the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, should be made to face appropriate disciplinary action and, or stripped of their status and dismissed, while disciplinary actions should be taken against Major General Godwin Umelo and Lt. Col S.O. Bello, who refused to honor the summons of the panel in order to frustrate the investigation.
The panel indicted Nigerian Army officers of having “shot, injured and killed unarmed helpless and defenceless 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.”
Despite an abundance of evidence which includes testimonials and visuals, the Nigerian government continues to deny that protesters were shot and killed. Minister of Information Alhaji Lai Mohammed even went as far as describing the Lekki incident as a “phantom massacre”.
In reaction, CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “it is a sad testament for our nation that harmless protesters were mowed down this way while peacefully waving the national flag the military was established to protect. The findings of the Judicial Panel that the Lagos State government received is what we confirmed long ago and documented in our report Lies and the Hail of Bullets.”
Oluwafemi pointed out that in the face of undeniable atrocities perpetrated by Nigerian security forces the Nigerian government and their image makers walked the lonely road of woeful denial, adding that “what we are now demanding is justice for the victims.”
CAPPA had on 22nd October, 2021, launched ‘’Lies and the Hail of Bullets: #EndSARS – the story of Lekki shootings by survivors’’, an expository account of the events of October 20, 2021, at Lekki tollgate where survivors and victims’ families narrated their ordeals. Despite the unabashed denials of the Nigerian government, CAPPA invited victims of Lekki shooting and families of deceased protesters, who also gave vivid account of the atrocity, as captured in the report.
The report both in print and video documentary format was accompanied by a follow-up letter by CAPPA to the United Nations, office of the High Commissioner and the International Criminal Court, urging both bodies to act and investigate the incident.
Source: The New Diplomat