Human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN) said 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; 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.
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.
Speaking on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme, Falana said:
“Even the military denied that (but) it was when the young people who are advanced in technology and who took photographs in the night when the soldiers were shooting, it was at that stage that the military said, ‘Yes, we were shooting, we only shot into the air’.
“And the panel found that even LAWMA (Lagos State Waste Management Authority) went there to do a clean-up in the night, in the early hours of 21st (of October 2020) so that there would be no trail but by the time the panel visited the scene of the incident they were still able to pick some expired bullets.”
“The panel painstakingly analysed the evidence of every witness before arriving at the conclusion. So, it is difficult to cover up what happened on that day.”
On the best way to treat those indicted by the report of the panel, Falana said: “They are all going to be sanctioned. Anybody who attempted to cover up would be sanctioned, any of them including those who managed Lekki, the LCC, because they disabled their system in order to cover up.”
“Any regime in the world that says these are federal officers and we are not going to sanction them, if you don’t, these are materials for the ICC (International Criminal Court). Under the Rome Statute, the ICC will only intervene if a government is unwilling or unable to prosecute those who engaged in crimes against humanity, genocide and aggression. If by the time the government issues its White Paper, recommendations are made and these people are not prosecuted, that is not the end of the matter. No President can behave as in the ‘80s, that this is an internal affair.”