…Panel discovers five bullet shell casings at Toll PlazaPlaza
An impromptu fact-finding mission by members of the Lagos Judicial Panel on #EndSARS met a brick wall on Friday, when soldiers manning the gate at the Military Hospital in Ikoyi, prevented them from assessing the hospital’s mortuary.
The panel, headed by Justice Doris Okuwobi (Retd), acting on intelligence, had stormed the hospital unannounced, on investigation into the shooting at Lekki tollgate, where 15 protesters were reportedly killed.
Some witnesses of the Lekki shooting accused the military of taking away the bodies of those killed in the incident.
But the panel’s visit was abruptly ended, after an initial resistance they encountered at the gate of the hospital, which lasted for about 30 minutes.
Ebun Adegboruwa, a member of the panel, told soldiers, who stopped them at the gate, that the panel came to the hospital because it had intelligence that might help with its investigation.
“The facility is relevant to our investigation. We have a pathologist. We are here on the authority of the President, not only the Governor,” he said.
The senior advocate added: “We are following due process, and it is important we visit the mortuary as it will help our findings.
“If we are not allowed access, we will go back and take other actions. We won’t force ourselves in. We have confidential information that the military hospital here is relevant in the investigation of the Lekki event. We heard this hospital is controlled by 65 battalion and under the 81 Division. We are also taking steps to reach military authorities.”
Adegboruwa said though the panel did not have evidence that there were bodies of those killed at the tollgate in the hospital, it was at the facility to verify the claim.
Earlier, the panel had also discovered five bullet shell casings at the Lekki Tollgate Plaza, the scene of the October 20 alleged shootings of #EndSARS protesters by officers of the Nigerian Army.
The Panel was received by Mr. Abayomi Omomuwa, the Managing Director of the Lekki Concession Company (LCC), and Mr Gbolahan Agboluwaje, Head of the Legal Department of LCC and the media.
The bullet casings were seen on the floor, inside the gutter and the stairs of the Tollgate plaza by people present there.
Omomuwa, during the visit, told the panel that the Close Circuit Television (CCTV), cameras mounted on a mast at the toll gate area was working during the shootings.
He, however, noted that though the footage of the happenings of October 20 had been captured by the CCTV, it is currently not working due to damage caused by hoodlums during the carnage of Oct. 21.
On the panel’s return to the venue of its proceedings, Justice Okuwobi said that the panel had made observations and had asked questions at the scene.
She said that subsequent proceedings could not continue because the Managing Director of the LCC had no legal representation.
She also noted that the panel had not admitted the Oct. 20 footage as evidence and when it is admitted in evidence, it will be played at the proceedings.
The proceedings were adjourned until November 3, when the MD of the LCC is expected to appear before the panel for his own testimony.