REWIND: In 2020, Malami said hoodlums wearing army uniform might be behind Lekki massacre malami

On Monday, the Lagos state judicial panel on police brutality submitted its report to the state government.

Two sets of reports were submitted by the panel — a consolidated report on police brutality and the investigation of the Lekki incident.

Over the past year, the panel, as part of recommendations put forward during the #EndSARS protests, has heard petitions on police brutality and has also investigated the Lekki tollgate incident of October 20, 2020.

Soldiers besieged the tollgate where protesters had gathered and fired shots, in what appeared to be an attempt to disperse the demonstrators.

Two weeks after the shooting at the tollgate, Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), said it was likely hoodlums wearing military fatigues — and not soldiers — who shot #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos.

Malami said it was “pre-emptive” to conclude that there had even been shootings, adding that “hoodlums” may have been hired to create a scene.

“You cannot rule out the possibility of perhaps hoodlums that set in to create a scene… could equally partake in the process,” the AGF said.

But in its report on the Lekki incident submitted to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos state governor, on Monday, the Lagos panel confirmed that officers of the Nigerian Army who said they were invited by the Lagos state governor, did in fact, shoot at and kill protesters at the Lekki tollgate.

The panel also concluded that the police shot at protesters and picked up bullets to cover-up.

“The Nigerian Army was invited for intervention in the State and was deployed to Lekki Toll Gate on the 20th of October 2020. At the Lekki Toll Gate, officers of the Nigerian Army shot, injured and killed unarmed helpless and defenseless protesters, without provocation or justification, while they were waving the Nigerian Flag and singing the National Anthem and the manner of assault and killing could in context be described as a massacre,” the report reads.

“The panel found that the Nigerian Police Force deployed its officers to the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of the 20th October, 2020 and between that night and the morning of the 21st of October, 2020, its officer shot at, assaulted and battered unarmed protesters, which led to injuries and deaths. The police officers also tried to cover up their actions by picking up bullets.

“The panel found that there was an invitation of the Nigerian Army to Lagos State made by the Lagos State Government through the Governor before the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army deployed its soldiers to the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of the 20th of October.”

The Cable

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