103 #EndSARS victims for mass burial not from Lekki tollgate shooting — Lagos govt

THE Lagos state government has said victims of the #EndSARS protest in 2020 being prepared for mass burial were not from the Lekki tollgate shooting incident that happened in the thick of the protest.

In a statement the government issued on Sunday, July 23, the Permanent Secretary, state ministry of Health, Olusegun Ogboye, confirmed that preparation for the mass burial of 103 #EndSARS victims was ongoing, but noted that none of the dead bodies was retrieved from the Lekki tollgate.

This statement is in response to a leaked memo which revealed that the state government had approved N61,285,000 for the mass burial of 103 persons identified as 2020 EndSARS victims.


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The memo, dated July 19, 2023, which captured steps for the processing of funds for the burial after approval by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, surfaced on social media on Sunday, July 23 morning, sparking outrage.

Ogboye confirmed the memo but insisted that details were being misconstrued.

He said the victims to be buried were not from the controversial Lekki tollgate shooting.

The areas cited in the statement as places where the corpses were picked up are Fagba, Ketu, Ikorodu, Orile, Ajegunle, Abule-Egba, Ikeja, Ojota, Ekoro, Ogba, Isolo and Ajah, all in Lagos State.

Ogboye noted that there was also a jailbreak at Ikoyi Prison in the state.

“The 103 casualties mentioned in the document were from these incidents and NOT from Lekki Toll Gate as alleged. For the avoidance of doubt, nobody was retrieved from the Lekki Toll Gate incident.

“Contrary to disingenuous narrative weaved around the recently approved mass burial, the #EndSARs Panel subpoenaed the Lagos State chief pathologist to produce full records of unclaimed bodies of dead deposited with the state central morgue during the days immediately preceding and following the event at Lekki tollgate on 20/10/20.

“The lists with their autopsies of provable cause and circumstances of death were duly submitted and testified to before the panel.

“This subpoena was at the request of lawyers who represented #EndSARS protesters, and the chief pathologist complied. There was not a single finding in the report or ensuing white paper attributing the death of any named citizen listed in the autopsy to the Lekki incident,” he said.

Ogboye said the bodies to be buried included unidentified victims deposited in a state-owned morgue.

He also disclosed that the mass burial was spurred by the “need to decongest the morgues – a procedure that follows very careful medical and legal guidelines if a relative may still turn up to claim a lost relative years after the incident.”

Ogboye explained that none of the unclaimed bodies was victim of the Lekki Toll Gate massacre.

The ICIR had reported that the findings of the Lagos State Judicial Panel on #EndSARS indicted the Nigerian Army of massacre at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.

These findings were contained in a report submitted by the panel to the Lagos State Government.






     

     

    According to the report, the panel noted that nine protesters were confirmed dead, while four others were presumed dead.

    The report listed 48 names as casualties of the Lekki incident of October 20, 2020.

    Among the 48 casualties listed, 24 sustained gunshot injuries, while soldiers and police assaulted 15 others.

    The report noted that the testimonies of victims, eyewitnesses and independent experts employed to examine the footage taken during the incident proved that military operatives shot live bullets at protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020, resulting in deaths and severe gunshot injuries.

    Beloved John is an investigative reporter with International Centre for Investigative Reporting.

    You can reach her via: [email protected]

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