The Lagos State Government has revealed why it rejected a part of the findings of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry (JPI) report on the Lekki Tollgate incident in its recently released White Paper.
The state government said the inconsistencies and contradictions in the leaked reports of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the Lekki incident that led to the death of 9 people at the Lekki Tollgate last year made the panel’s finding unreliable, saying that for somebody’s death at a scene to be acceptable, there should be no doubts at all surrounding such.
This was made known by the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) on Wednesday, while appearing on an Arise Television interview programme, the Morning show, to discuss the White Paper on the report released by the state government.
Onigbanjo insisted that the state government’s White Paper on the Judicial Panel of Inquiry (JPI) on the report of the Lekki Tollgate incident complied with the laws and the weight of evidence presented in the Judicial Panel of Inquiry to reach a decision on the panel’s reports.
He said the position of the state government as stated in the White Paper was not contrary to the panel’s findings, especially the evidence of the Pathologist, Professor John Obafunwa, who said only 3 of the bodies that he conducted post mortem examination on during the EndSARS protests were from Lekki, and out of them, only one had gunshot injury.
What the Attorney General of Lagos State is saying
Onigbanjo said, “The position of Lagos State Government is based on the findings of the panel itself. So, it is not that Lagos State Government just conjured things from the air. We went through the report and what we saw particularly in reference to the death of nine persons is that they found the evidence of the Pathologist, Prof. Obafunwa, who conducted an autopsy on all the bodies picked up all over Lagos during the protests, not just at Lekki Tollgate but statewide, credible and there was no evidence to the contrary.
“Prof. Obafunwa said that of all the bodies he conducted autopsies on, three came from Lekki and out of the three only one had gunshot injuries. And the panel then said we believe you, we accept your evidence because there is nothing to the contrary. So, in law, if you put that on the imaginary scale, it means what Prof. Obafunwa said outweighs every other evidence before the panel.”
Onigbanjo also debunked the allegations that the Judicial Panel of Inquiry made no reference to policemen nor took them into consideration.
He said, “They (JPI) issued two reports. The report that leaked only dealt with the issues from the Lekki Toll Gate. There is another report which they issued which was not leaked; that report deals with all the EndSARS petitions that were about 253 in number and of the 253, policemen also brought their own petitions and in that report, the panel awarded a sum of about N36.2million to the policemen who were affected one way or the other by the protests.
“So to be fair to them, they did consider the plights of the policemen too. And even if you look at most of their recommendations, they are for better welfare for the police, better equipment, more training, psychological evaluations, so they took them into consideration.’’
What you should know
Recall that the Lagos State Government in the White Paper released on Tuesday accepted 11, rejected one and agreed on 6 with modifications out of the 32 recommendations made by the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the Lekki Tollgate shootings. It also stated that 14 recommendations fall outside its powers and would be forwarded to the Federal government for consideration.