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#ENDSARS: Falana wants Malami, Lai Mohammed sanctioned over attempt to cover up Lekki massacre

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), says all those who tried to cover up the shootings at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020, must be sanctioned for complicity.

Falana specifically directed his remarks at the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; the Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN); as well as the managers of the toll gate, the Lekki Concession Company.

He prayed that all the aforesaid individuals and bodies should be sanctioned for trying to cover up the “crimes against humanity committed at the toll gate” during the EndSARS protests last year.

Following the shootings and the reported killings at the Lekki toll gate, the Lagos State Government had constituted the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and other matters to, amongst other things, probe the Lekki incident.

On Monday, after about a year, the Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel submitted its report to the Lagos State Government, noting that at least nine persons were confirmed dead at the Lekki toll plaza when soldiers stormed the tollgate to disperse EndSARS protesters on October 20, 2020.

The 309-page report stated, “The atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless and unresisting protesters while sitting on the floor and waving their Nigerian flags and while singing the National Anthem can be equated to a massacre in context.”

It recommended that all army officers deployed in the Lekki tollgate should be made to face appropriate disciplinary action, stripped of their ranks and dismissed as they were not fit and proper to serve in any public or security service of the nation.

The United States, the United Nations, the United Kingdom and Amnesty International have since called on the Nigerian authorities to ensure that the panel’s report is handled transparently.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who received the report on Monday, constituted a Committee to bring forward a White Paper within the next two weeks to be considered by the Lagos State Executive Council.

The panel’s report negates the consistent claim by the Federal Government of Nigeria that there was no “massacre” at the toll gate, a focal gathering point during last year’s nationwide demonstration against extrajudicial killings and police brutality by operatives of the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force.

Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, had at various times maintained that the Lekki incident was a “massacre without bodies” and had threatened to sue Cable News Network and other international bodies that claimed otherwise.

Malami had also said those who attacked the youths at Lekki toll gate weren’t soldiers but wore military camouflages while the LCC had allegedly removed the closed-circuit television at the toll gate in a move that had been widely described as a cover-up.

Speaking on Thursday, Falana said those who released the Lekki panel report feared cover-up by the government, hence, they released the report to the public to know their findings.

He spoke on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme.

Falana, who said the report is one of the best so far in the country, added that there is no room for a cover-up.

The human rights lawyer noted that Mohammed, Malami, the LCC and all those who tried to cover up the killings at Lekki must be sanctioned.

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