Inherrent Contradictions Render EndSARs Panel Report Unacceptable - Onigbanjo - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Inherrent Contradictions Render EndSARs Panel Report Unacceptable - Onigbanjo

Moyosore Onigbanjo




The Daily Crucible | Published  Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos, Moyosore Onigbanjo, on Wednesday peeled out the report of the state’s judicial panel on police brutality, exposing it as documents riddled with inherrent “contradictions” and making 
the findings unreliable.

Governor Babajide Sanwo - Olu of Lagos State had on Tuesday, released the white paper on the report submitted by the judicial panel set up to investigate cases of police brutality and rights abuses in the state.

The panel concluded its sitting after nearly 13 months and submitted two reports on November 15  — one on cases of police brutality and another on the Lekki shooting episode.

In its report which was also leaked to the public via the media, the panel listed nine deaths from the shooting at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020, but the white paper, anchoring its submission on what it described as “fundamental inconsistencies,” rejected the figure.

In the 24-page document, the State Government disclosed that out of the 32 recommendations made by the Judicial Panel of Inquiry in its Report of 15th November 2021, Government accepted eleven (11), rejected one (1) and accepted 6 (six) with modifications.

It noted that: “Fourteen (14) recommendations fall outside the powers of Lagos State government and will be forwarded to the Federal Government for consideration.

 "The findings of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry that nine (9) people died at LTG on October 20, 2020, from gunshots fired by the military were based on ‘assumptions’ and ‘speculations’.

"The inconsistencies and contradictions in the entire Judicial Panel of Inquiry report concerning the number of persons who died at the Toll Gate on October 20, 2020 and the cause of death, rendered the judicial panel’s findings and conclusions thereon as totally unreliable and therefore unacceptable.

 “The only victim of gunshot injury from LTG was picked up at 7:43pm on 21st October 2020 after the curfew commenced (see page 99). Furthermore, there was no shred of evidence regarding who shot him," the report reads in part.

And consolidating this stance while appearing today (Wednesday) on Arise TV, Onigbanjo, who heads the four-person white paper committee that reviewed the EndSARs panel report, said the panel’s findings on the shooting at the Lekki tollgate were at variance with the evidence provided.

He assured that the two reports from the panels will be released to the public soon to allow Nigerians, particularly Lagosians, make their own judgment from the findings.

According to him, the panel’s report created doubts and gaps and did not explain how the panelists arrived at that conclusion, the names, who shot them and when they were shot.

“The panel said they found the report of Professor Obafunwa who deducted autopsy on all the bodies picked up around Lagos during the protest, not just in Lekki; that they found his evidence credible and that there was no evidence to the contrary. Professor Obafunwa said that of all the bodies he conducted autopsies on, three came from Lekki and out of those, only one had gunshot injury. 

"And the panel then said, ‘we believe you and accept your evidence because there is nothing to the contrary.’ It means what Professor Obafunwa said outweighs every other piece of evidence before the panel.

“Then the panel then goes on to say there were nine dead. If you look at that page where the deads from the Lekki tollgate were listed, they did not explain how they arrived at that conclusion, the names, who shot them and when they were shot. So that’s a contradiction because what Professor Obafunwa said is different from the conclusion they are now reaching. And there were so many others.

“They also said one Nathanial Solomon died at Lekki tollgate. It also turns out that Nathaniel Solomon was a witness before them and handed a petition in respect of his late brother.

“Those contradictions and many more made that particular finding unreliable. Because for a finding that somebody died at a scene to be acceptable, there must be no doubt. What the panel did create doubts; it created gaps in their story of nine deaths. And once there are doubts, the doubts are usually resolved in favour of the person you’re accusing to have murdered or killed those people — because of this, that particular finding was rejected.

“We are also going to release the two reports of the panel to the public to judge by themselves. So we are not just going to be a case of Lagos state government analysing this in itself and coming to its conclusions. We are going to make them available to everybody to read it,” he said.

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