The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has insisted that there were only two confirmed deaths during the shooting incident that happened a week ago at the Lekki Tollgate.
He also said that there were no bloodstains at the scene of the incident.
According to a report on Vanguard, the Lagos State Governor made the disclosure during an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson about the incident and the fall out of the #EndSARS protests over police brutality and extra-judicial killing.
The Governor’s statement is against the backdrop of several reports in the public space, which had claimed that over 30 protesters and in some cases about 70 protesters allegedly died as a result of the shooting by soldiers at the Lekki Tollgate.
The Governor said, “Two dead bodies, that is what we have seen from all the morgues, that’s what we have seen going to hospitals, that’s what we have seen as a record. What has happened is that there have been so many footages that were seen, that people have shown, but we have not seen bodies, we have not seen relatives, we have not seen anybody truly coming out to say I am a father or a mother to someone and I cannot find that person. Nobody has turned up. I have been to the ground, there is no scratch of blood anywhere there.
“From the footage that we could see, because there were cameras at that facility, it seems to me that they would be men in military uniform. That’s what the footage shows.”
While insisting that there was no form of international pressure as a result of the protests, Sanwo-Olu said, “I genuinely believe there would be change. For two reasons; what has happened, especially in Lagos is extremely unimaginable. It was also a clarion call for all of us in government to understand and realize what the youths want us to be doing. It hit all of us like a thunderbolt and it was just a wake-up call.”
In order to aid the investigation to ascertain what happened at the Lekki Tollgate, Sanwo-Olu assured that the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) footages will be made available to the judicial panel already set up to investigate the incident and has already started sitting on Monday.
While responding to a question, Sanwo-Olu said he was ‘absolutely’ committed to a full investigation of the incident.
He said, “It’s beyond my control to mete out punishment to those found culpable; however, those responsible will be held accountable. I am not the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The report will be out, we will channel the report to all the relevant authorities in the State to ensure everyone that is found culpable is accountable for the act.”
Despite the Lagos State Governor’s insistence on the number of fatalities, a lot of Nigerians do not believe his account of the incident and think that there is some form of an alleged cover-up by government officials. They are still outraged that despite some video evidence and accounts of people that were there, the government is still understating the fatality figures.
#EndSARS: States affected by violence should get 1% VAT – Senate
The Nigerian Senate has urged the Federal Government to give states that were affected by lootings and destruction by hoodlums after the anti-police brutality protests, 1% of all Value Added Tax (VAT).
This motion was moved by Senators Abiodun Olujimi and Gershom Bassey on Tuesday and disclosed in a report by Channels TV.
What you should know
After the lootings and destruction by hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protests, Nairametrics reported that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said Lagos State will need about N1 trillion for the reconstruction and repair of the properties and infrastructure that was vandalized in the process.
The Senators moving the motion declared that destruction caused in Lagos by hoodlums was valued at a range of over N1 trillion by the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Senator Gershom Bassey also revealed that hoodlums attacked federal properties in Calabar like the WAEC office and looted food warehouses in the state.
“Cross River State being a predominantly Civil Service State may not overcome the effects of the invasion since the destroyed state infrastructure were built from lean state resources over the years,” Bassey disclosed.
Senator Sani Musa said the lootings which started in Lagos spread to other states, leading to the destruction of properties and urged for the FG’s assistance.
“#EndSARS came as a peaceful protest, but turned violent. It started in Lagos and later spread to other states which led to the destruction of homes, businesses, and government offices. It is very unfortunate. The government needs to rebuild what was destroyed and pay compensation as well. It is their responsibility,” Musa said.
FG petitions CNN over investigative report on Lekki shooting, threatens action
The Federal Government has petitioned CNN over its alleged bias report on the Lekki Tollgate shooting.
The Federal Government has written a petition to the US-based Cable News Network (CNN), demanding an immediate and exhaustive investigation into its report on the Lekki Tollgate shooting, to determine its authenticity and conformity to basic standards of journalism.
The government berated CNN for its investigative report on the #EndSARS protest in Lekki area of Lagos, pointing out that the media outfit breached the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness.
In the petition written by the Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, to Jonathan Hawkins, VP (Communications) in CNN Centre Atlanta, Georgia; the government said that if the international media organization does not carry out its demand, it will take any action within its laws to prevent CNN from making the #EndSARS crisis worse.
According to a report from Punch, the government’s letter dated November 23, 2020, is titled “Re: How a bloody night of bullets quashed a young protest movement”.
The letter reads: “Our attention has been drawn to an ‘investigation’ by CNN, entitled ‘How a Bloody Night of Bullets Quashed a Young Protest Movement’ and aired on 18 Nov. 2020, in which the international news organization said it uncovered that Nigerian security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria, during the #EndSARS protest.”
“We write to put on record that the report did not just fall short of journalistic standards, it reinforces the disinformation that is going around on the issue. It is blatantly irresponsible and it is a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization.
“In the first instance, the report did not live up to the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness. According to the website www.ethics.journalists.org, balance and fairness are classic buzzwords of journalism ethics: In objective journalism, stories must be balanced in the sense of attempting to present all sides of a story. Fairness means that a journalist should strive for accuracy and truth in reporting, and not slant a story that makes a reader draw the reporter’s desired conclusion.”
What you should know
It can be recalled that CNN in its investigative report broadcasted on November 18, disclosed that the Nigerian army allegedly fired live ammunition directly at unarmed protesters, who peacefully assembled at the Lekki Tollgate during the #EndSARS protests. While confirming some deaths, CNN said it spoke with over 100 protesters and family members, but didn’t speak to any government official.
In response to the Federal Government’s criticism of the report, which it described as a blatantly irresponsible and a poor piece of journalistic work, CNN insisted that it was standing by its report.
#EndSARS: Insurance firms can seek refund after indemnifying victims – MD, NICON Insurance
NICON MD has stated that it is possible for the insurance firms to be compensated by the FG after victims have been indemnified.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NICON Insurance Limited, Mr. Muhammadu Bagudu Hussaini, has advised Insurance firms to maximize certain provisions in the constitution that guarantees their refund after compensating victims of the recent #EndSARS protest, opining that it is possible for the insurance firms to be compensated by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
He made the disclosure during an interview with the Daily Trust, where he decried the high level of losses encountered during the protest and the imminent high claims on insurance firms, which if care is not taken, might affect liquidity in the system.
Mr. Hussaini stated that the government has the machinery to pay the insurance companies without recourse to treasury, but he was quick to point out that it is a dormant machinery.
What they are saying
Elucidating his points, Mr. Hussaini said: “There will be a large volume of claims which the insurance industry would have to pay. I have no doubt about the capacity of the insurance industry to meet its obligations on claims that may arise from the destruction across the country.
“However, two issues would arise because the context of the claims are huge and would come in at the same time. There will be no spread, thus this will impact the finances of the underwriters and may destabilize their finances.
“What happened was as a result of breakdown of law and order. Section 14 (2b) of the Nigerian Constitution vests the duty of guaranteeing security and providing for the welfare of the citizens in the hands of government – the executive precisely. I will look at the damages from the protest as a failure of the government to provide security and welfare for the citizens.
“The section says the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. Thus, insurance companies have a subrogation right – the right to recover from the government their funds after they pay the claims arising from the destruction.
“Therefore, I advise the insurance companies to pay their claims and seek refund on the basis of Section 14 (2b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”