#EndSARS: Drama as Lagos probe panel visits military mortuary

    •We’re prepared to show Lekki shootings’ CCTV footage –LCC

    Oladimeji Ramon

    The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on Lekki-Epe Expressway on the night of October 20 paid a visit to the tollgate on Friday for assessment.

    The Managing Director of the Lekki Concession Company, operator of the tollgate, Mr Abayomi Omomuwa, in company with the firm’s Head of Legal Department, Mr Gbolahan Agboluaje, conducted the panel round the facility.

    During the visit with journalists, a total of five bullet shells were found on the ground, the staircase of the toll plaza and in the gutter.

    The MD told the panel that closed-circuit television cameras mounted on a mast at the tollgate area captured the shooting incident.

    He said the CCTV cameras worked through the night until hoodlums attacked the toll plaza the next day, following shootings by soldiers.

    Earlier at the venue of the panel sitting at the Lagos Court of Arbitration, Agboluaje told the panel that the firm had footage of the incident and would make it available to the panel.

    Omomuwa had been scheduled to testify before the panel on Friday, but he could not do so as he had no legal representation.

    Agboluaje explained to the panel that the LCC MD got the panel’s invitation late on Wednesday and did not have enough time to arrange for a lawyer.

    The firm’s lawyer pleaded with the panel to reschedule Omomuwa’s appearance.

    He said, “When we received the letter on Wednesday, we discovered that three things were required, which are the footage, the investigation report and any other document. We have the footage, we have not done the investigation report and we don’t have other documents.

    “We would be happy if we are given time to get a legal representation; we got a very short notice.”

    When the panel chairman asked him if LCC had the footage, Agboluaje said, “Yes, we are prepared to show the footage.”

    On return from the inspection of the tollgate plaza, Justice Okuwobi said the panel had taken note of its observations and had asked relevant questions.

    She said the CCTV footage with LCC would be admitted in evidence when the MD returned for his testimony before the panel.

    The panel rescheduled the MD’s return for November 3, 2020.

    Meanwhile, the panel also on Friday paid an unscheduled visit to the Military Hospital at Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos to inspect the hospital’s mortuary.

    On arriving at the gate at 1.40pm, soldiers resisted the move by the panel to enter the premises. The soldiers also insisted that journalists could not take photographs or make videos.

    A member of the panel, Ms Patience Udoh, informed the soldiers that the panel had the backing of the Presidency to visit the facility as part of its investigations into the Lekki tollgate shooting, adding that the panel was acting within the law.

    But the soldiers insisted that the panel should have written a letter, notifying the military authorities of its plan to visit.

    Another member of the panel, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), also told the military men that the panel’s decision to visit and inspect the facility was informed by “confidential information” that Military Hospital would be vital to the panel’s investigation.

    He added that the panel had the backing of both the Lagos State Government and the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), to do so.

    Adegboruwa said, “We are not just here on the authority of the government of Lagos State but that of the President. It was the National Executive Council that gave directives that this panel be set up; we are following due process.

    “If we are not allowed access, we will go back and take other options. We got confidential information that facilities at the Military Hospital, Ikoyi here will be relevant to our investigation.

    “This hospital is controlled by the 65 Batallion; we are taking steps to reach the authorities of the 65 Batallion. Informing the military beforehand would have defeated our purpose.

    “We didn’t give notice because of the importance of what we wanted to do. If we give information ahead of time, it will jeopardise our investigation.”

    Eventually, at 2.18pm, the panel and journalists were granted access, following the intervention of Brig.-Gen. A.I. Taiwo.

    Justice Okuwobi told Taiwo that inspection of the Military Hospital was part of the terms of reference of the panel.

    On Taiwo’s order, Col. G.S Ogoh took the panel and journalists on a tour of the facility, including the hospital’s morgue.

    Taiwo explained that the facility was undergoing renovation and had not been in use since last October.

    Asked if the hospital had a functional morgue, Taiwo said, “This place has been under renovation since last year.”

    Justice Okuwobi thanked Taiwo and his team for their cooperation and the panel left the premises at 2.36pm.

    [email protected]

    Source link

    Subscribe to Our VIP Newsletter