The United States has asked the federal and the Lagos State governments to take suitable measures to address the abuses as well as the grievances of victims and their families identified in the report submitted by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the October #ENDSARS protest
The panel chairman, Justice Doris Okuwobi (retd), had submitted the report at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Monday.
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According to the report, nine #EndSARS protesters were killed, while security operatives at the scene were said to have prevented ambulances from reaching injured demonstrators.
Reacting, the US Mission Nigeria in a statement said it was awaiting the response of Lagos State and federal governments on the report.
“The United States welcomes the conclusion of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry with the transmission of its final report.
“We look forward to the Lagos State Government’s response as part of a process that represents an important mechanism of accountability regarding the #EndSARS protests and the events that took place near the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.
“Those events led to serious allegations against some members of the security forces, and we look forward to the Lagos State and federal governments taking suitable measures to address those alleged abuses as well as the grievances of the victims and their families,” the statement read.
The US position came a day after the panel in its report recommended that President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government should publicly apologise to the youth for using state actors to abruptly undermine the ENDSARS protest in 2020.
The panel, which indicted the governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for seeking the intervention of the army during the protest, also accused Lekki Concession Company of manipulating the CCTV Video footage of the Lekki Toll Gate which it tendered before the Panel.
The panel noted that the deployment of the Army to Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, in the absence of any reported violence, was totally unwarranted.
It recommended that the federal government should publicly apologise to the youth for purpose of restitution, healing and reconciliation.
The panel also alleged cover-up attempts by state actors by the cleaning of the Lekki Toll Gate and the failure to preserve the scene ahead of potential investigations.
Perpetrators must face justice – AI, PDP
Meanwhile the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Amnesty International, Nigeria have demanded prosecution of the perpetrators since the panel had confirmed shootings of protesters at Lekki Toll Gate.
Responding to the findings, Osai Ojigho, the country’s Director of Amnesty International, in a statement on Tuesday said Nigerian authorities must ensure access to justice and effective remedies, including adequate compensation, restitution, and guarantee of non-repetition to victims and their families.
AI also demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all #EndSARS protesters unlawfully detained since last year.
The statement said, “Amnesty International welcomes the panel’s report, which confirms that Nigerian Army and police shot peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on 20 October 2020.
“The panel’s findings reveal the truth about what happened at Lekki Toll Gate and contradict the shameful denial by the Nigerian government that deadly force was used against peaceful #EndSARS protesters.
“A day after the crackdown, Amnesty International conducted its own on-the-ground investigation which confirmed that the Nigerian Army and police killed at least 12 peaceful protesters in Lekki and Alausa – with evidence gathered from eyewitnesses, video footage and hospital reports.
“A week later Amnesty International was able to release a timeline of the shootings, which confirmed that Nigerian Army vehicles left a military base a short drive from the toll gate on the evening of the shootings and were present when the killings began shortly after.
“For the survivors and relatives of the dead, the judicial panel report findings are only the first step towards justice and restitution.
“President Buhari must act promptly to ensure that those found to be responsible for shooting and attacks on peaceful protesters are brought to justice in fair trial.”
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, while reacting said the report had strengthened the fact that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was running a regime with no regard for life.
“It is now clear that no matter how much the wicked strive in denial, the truth will always prevail,” he said.
Also, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has said that it will sue Buhari’s administration to compel it to immediately arrest the soldiers and police officers responsible for the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki-Toll Gate and pay reparations to victims.
Admit your error, Bode George tells Sanwo-Olu
A former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, on Tuesday, asked the governor to apologise for the killings.
He also advised the governor against reopening the tollgate.
George asked Sanwo-Olu to accept that he “misbehaved” in the handling of the #EndSARS protest, and take responsibility for what had happened and make amends.
President of PDP National Youth Movement, Comrade Salaudeen A. Lukman, regretted that the APC government is using state actors to intimidate the youths.
Muideen Olaniyi & Hamisu Kabir Matazu (Abuja), Abiodun Alade, Abdullateef Aliyu & Christiana T. Alabi (Lagos)