Nigeria

#EndSARS: Group alleges plans to cover up Lekki shootings

Members of the judicial panel of inquiry into police brutality and the shooting of #EndSARS protesters by the police and soldiers in Lagos toured the Lekki tollgate plaza where the incident occurred on October 20, 2020 and found at least five spent bullets in the drainage around the area.

A youth platform formed by the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) called Youth Right Campaign (YRC), on Tuesday, alleged plans by the government to cover up Lekki shootings on October 20, 2020.

According to the group, this became clear following a report by the Lekki Concession Company (LCC), operators of the Lekki tollgate on Tuesday 3, November 2020.

They alleged that the widely-anticipated Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) had no recording of the shooting incident from 8 pm because the camera stopped working from that time on the ill-fated night.

Michael Adaramoye, the National Coordinator of YRC, who addressed the press at the international press centre, Lagos maintained that reports from the Lagos State Judicial panel on Lekki shootings show that government is not interested in unearthing the real evidence of what happened on October 20, 2020.

He said, “The declaration of absence of any recording or footage of the shooting after 8 pm on a fateful day by LCC could be the climax in this elaborate cover-up. Any other developments after that will only be an anti-climax.”

Adaramoye, therefore, urged the judicial panel to excise the investigation of the Lekki shooting from its terms of reference and to concentrate on investigating the atrocities of the defunct SARS over which it appears to wield unchallenged authority.

Besides, he threatened that “the representative of youth and civil society on the panel should take leave of this circus in protest.”

He also called on youths and civil society organizations to join forces and advance the struggle for justice for the victims of Black Tuesday and other attacks by security operatives or government-sponsored thugs in the course of the #EndSARS protest.

Similarly, the group lamented the unabated brutality of the police, military and other security agencies despite the concession granted by the government.

Adaramoye added, “Here is the shocking murder of a student and journalist, Onifade Pelumi in the hands of men of the Lagos State task force while covering the riots and looting of COVID-19 palliatives in Lagos. Pelumi a 100 level student of Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) was arrested and later killed while in custody and his body dumped in a morgue at Ikorodu.

“We condemn crackdown and reported massacre at Oyigbo Rivers State and demand a halt to all further military or police actions in the area. We demand a lift of the curfew and cordon around Oyigbo which has deprived many of food and essential supplies. We also call for justice for victims.

“We reject all new attempts to muzzle democratic rights. We reject attempts to muzzle the traditional media through NBC fines and social media through the social media regulation bill. We demand a halt to the witch-hunt of #EndSARS activists, the organisers, participants or lawyers, artists and medical professionals who may have offered support for the protests.”

The group coordinator, who sympathised with the victims and those that lost property during and after the protest, called for the coming together of all radical youth groups, organisations, NGOs, and all radical individuals who participated in the 13-day #EndSARS protest to build a Pan-Nigerian youth coalition/movement.

He added that the movement would ensure among others that, “We pursue to a logical end justice for the victims of the killings through all means including the setting up of an independent truth commission/panel of inquiry. We must organise a befitting memorial for the martyrs as soon as possible and launch of an annual remembrance to ensure the crime is not forgotten.

“Carry on the struggle to end police brutality and anti-poor policies for which these fallen heroes gave their lives,” he added.

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