The Lagos State Government and the police are separately trying to frustrate the panel investigating the Lekki shooting incident, a lawyer to the victims has alleged.
Adeshina Ogunlana said this on Friday at the venue of the panel’s sitting where he led about a dozen victims of the shooting to.
He accused the Lagos government of trying to ‘run’ his clients ‘out of town’ and accused the police of filing a suit to stop the panel from sitting.
“There have been deliberate efforts by the agent of the government, specifically the Lagos State Government, to run down my clients, and so many EndSARS protesters, to run them out of town, to clamp them down and not to allow them to come to the panel,” he said.
Mr Ogunlana said there were efforts made by state agents over the weekend to stop Friday’s brief demonstration.
“We are saying that you cannot compromise this level of atrocity. People were shot at by security agencies including the Nigerian military and the police, this is the truth,” he said.
He did not provide details of the specific actions the Lagos government took to ‘clamp down’ on his clients. Mr Ogunlana had also raised similar allegations in the past. The judicial panel was set up by the Lagos government and the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has publicly condemned the Lekki shooting.
Mr Ogunlana, on Friday, arrived the venue of the judicial panel with many injured protesters who were affected by the Lekki shooting incident of October 20.
He said after seeing attempts by the police to frustrate the judicial panel of Inquiry by raising a case against its legality, it behoves on them to present the fact that they know to the world.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the police said it was investigating a suit filed on its behalf to stop the judicial panels across many states from investigating police brutality.
The police spokesperson, Frank Mba, said Thursday night that the inspector general of police, Mohammed Adamu, did not autorise the filing of the suit and will ensure those behind it are punished. Mr Mba also said a police legal officer has been suspended over the matter.
On Friday, however, Mr Ogunlana, who was apparently miffed by the police suit, came to the Lagos Court of Arbitration Lekki, the venue of the panel’s sitting, with injured persons, families and other protesters.
About 10 injured persons and their relatives were driven to the venue of the panel’s sitting in a white bus. The victims came with different degrees of injuries, mostly from bullet wounds, including one with an amputated leg.
“The truth is that, actually, an atrocity was perpetrated in Lekki on the 20th of October 2020, a murderous atrocity, a massacre. There are living witnesses,” Mr Ogunlana said, adding that there is no need to show bodies (corpses) before they can prove a case of murder.
“These people are here with their bodies, you could see lots of irons in their bodies, some of their parents are here and we know what it took us to encourage these ones to come,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported the Lekki shooting incident where several protesters were injured and some killed from bullet wounds. Although the Nigerian military has on several occasion denied shooting at the protesters, a judicial panel of inquiry was set up in Lagos to investigate the Lekki incident and other cases of police brutality.
Mr Ogunlana also said the adjournment of the matter, by the panel, to December 11 and the perceived attempts to stop the panel were reasons for Friday’s demonstration.
“There was this fear on our part, and reasonable fear too that there is an intention; deliberate intention to scrap this panel … by way of the legal process,” he said.
He said the government cannot continue with the culture of reckless impunity and it is the responsibility of citizens to speak up.
In the company of the demonstrators was Nathaniel Solomon, who said his brother was shot dead at the Lekki Toll gate incident. He said his brother was later buried in their hometown in Adawama State.