The Lagos State government in its white paper on Tuesday rejected the position of a panel of inquiry on police brutality it set up to the effect that soldiers killed nine people at Lekki tollgate on October 20 last year during the EndSARS protest.
A judicial panel of inquiry set up by the state government to probe into police brutality in the state, as well as the Lekki tollgate incident, had said that at least nine people were killed at the tollgate by soldiers and police personnel, in what it described as a massacre, while several others sustained varying degrees of injury.
The judicial panel had established that Nigerian soldiers “provocatively and unjustifiably” shot live bullets and killed several #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate.
In what the panel called a “massacre,” it said at least 46 unarmed protesters were either shot dead, injured with bullets, or assaulted by security forces at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, last year.
However, the state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in the white paper, rejected the panel’s recommendation arguing that there is no evidence that nine people died during the protest.
According to Gbenga Omotosho, the commissioner for information, the release of the white paper, which is yet to be in the public domain, is in fulfillment of the promise of the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to respond to the report.
The Judicial Panel, led by Doris Okuwobi, a retired judge, submitted its report on the Lekki shooting incident on November 15. The report was leaked same day.
The state governor, who accepted the report, had said a white paper containing the response of the government will be released two weeks after submission.
Giving the highlight of the white paper, Gbenga Akosile, the chief press secretary to the governor, said “out of the 32 recommendations made by the JPI in its report of 15th November, 2021, the government accepted 11.”
He further said one of the recommendations was rejected, six accepted with modifications and 14 fall outside the power of the state government.
Mr Akosile said the recommendations, which fall outside the state’s powers, will be forwarded to the federal government for consideration.
Among the recommendations rejected was to rename Lekki Tollgate as #EndSARS Tollgate.
As part of its recommendations, the panel asked Mr Sanwo-Olu to immortalise the lives lost at the Lekki tollgate during the October 2020 protest by erecting a monument with name inscriptions.
However, in the white paper, Mr Sanwo-Olu announced his government’s plan to designate a park as a memorial of the October 2020 peaceful protest against human rights abuses, including police brutality.
“Lagos state government will designate a park in the state and name it ‘Peace Park’ to serve as a reminder to the citizens of Lagos state of the peaceful protest all over the state against human rights abuses,” the white paper stated.