Lagos State judicial panel on restitution for victims of SARS related abuses has resumed sitting on Saturday with the continuation of the testimony of an #EndSARS protester, Serah Ibrahim.
Ibrahim made an appearance before the panel with several videos, some of which she said she shot personally with her iPhone, claiming they are video evidence of soldiers killing protesters at Lekki tollgate in Lagos state in October 2020.
The witness, who first appeared before the panel on April 18, said at least 10 people died from the shooting by officers of Nigerian Army at the toll plaza.
Although Nigerian Army denied shooting at protesters, several accounts of witnesses, including hospitals where victims were taken to, showed that there were casualties.
The actual number of people that died in the incident is, however, still unclear.
The nation has been divided over the true happenings on the night of the attack on peaceful protesters by army officials in the height of #EndSARS protest.
Several reports from eyewitnesses, Amnesty International, CNN and others have alleged that there were casualties. However, the Federal Government has repeatedly shut down this claim, saying there were only injured persons.
Playing the videos one after the other, Ibrahim stated that soldiers shot at peaceful protesters on the night of October 20.
As she played the videos, she explained to the panel that soldiers shot at the harmless protesters and even took away some of the dead bodies.
The video evidence also showed officers of the Nigerian Army present at the toll gate, shooting into the air, and also at the protesters.
According to the videos, at least five bodies were seen with many other protesters injured.
Ibrahim said contrary to the claim of soldiers that they shot into the air, protesters were shot at and many killed.
She specifically mentioned that one of the active protesters, Lekan Sanusi was thought to be dead and the soldiers took away his body.
The lady later found out that he was taken to MRS Hospital at Bonny camp where an unidentified nurse helped him to escape.
“That is the entrance of a hospital, there were people all over. They were attending to people at the car park,” Ibrahim said.
MDB earlier reported an unscheduled visit to the Military Hospital by the Judicial Panel on October 30 as part of its investigation into the Lekki shooting incident.
One of the members of the panel, Ebun Adegboruwa at the time said;
We decided to pay an unscheduled visit to the mortuary of the military hospital because we have confidential information concerning certain events that took place in the hospital here. We don’t want to make any conclusions yet until we have access to the mortuary to inspect it. We have a pathologist with us, who is here to help us conduct medical examination of bodies that we may find in the mortuary.
However, officials told the panel that the morgue has been under renovation since late 2019.
Brigadier General AI Taiwo and Colonel G.S Ogoh took the panel to the morgue where the ongoing renovation was confirmed.However, the witness on Saturday insisted the bodies taken away from the scene were taken to the Military Hospital.
Ibrahim also played videos of some persons who suffered gunshot wounds from bullets allegedly shot by the military with protesters surrounding them and trying to tend to their wounds.
When asked if she could authenticate the videos as to the time they were taken and the location, she mentioned that anyone could do this using Google Drive and she proceeded to demonstrate how it could be done.
The videos of two mothers who claimed to have lost their children at the protest ground were also played.
The videos were contained in the flash drive Serah Ibrahim tendered at the last sitting of the panel. Serah is expected to continue her testimony on May 15.
In one of the videos, the witness also showed the entrance of one of the hospitals that victims were taken to, saying the hospital was overwhelmed.
The lady’s testimony is the latest development in the controversy that has trailed the events at the Lekki toll gate on the night of October 20.
The army has repeatedly denied that it fatally shot at protesters and the Federal Government through minister of information, Lai Mohammed and other officials has said reports of a massacre at the toll gate was fake news.
He further dismissed CNN’s investigative report, which showed that bullet casings found at the #EndSARS protest ground at Lekki tollgate were lives ones that were purchased from Serbia by Nigerian Army.However, witnesses like entertainer, Obianuju Udeh, better known as DJ Switch, have insisted that the army took away bodies at the protest ground.
Amnesty International reported that 10 persons died during the event, a figure disputed by the Nigerian government.
The US government, in a human rights report released in March, said “accurate information on fatalities resulting from the shooting was not available” as at the end of 2020.
The EndSARS protests were one of the largest street demonstrations since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999.
The protests, mostly championed by young people, started as a campaign against police brutality but quickly metamorphosed into a rallying cry against bad governance.
Doris Okuwobi, a retired judge, heading the Judicial Panel adjourned the Lekki investigation matter till May 15.
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