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#EndSARS: Still no closure on Lekki tollgate shooting

#EndSARS: Still no closure on Lekki tollgate shooting
December 04
07:37 2021

More than a year after a panel and white paper report, there is still no consensus on what really happened at the Lekki tollgate shooting of October 20, 2020, during the #EndSARS protest.

Indeed, both protagonists have not shifted ground on what really transpired, and when you share a different opinion, you get a barrage of insults and death threats. Nobody is allowed to share a contrary opinion on the sensitive and delicate matter.

On one hand are people who believe that there was a massacre at Lekki tollgate and soldiers killed scores of youths and hid their bodies or whatever you chose to believe. If you don’t share that view, you are an enemy and you are rained with invectives.

On the other hand are people who don’t believe a single soul died at Lekki and the opposition was trying to change the narrative and paint the government of the day in a bad light. According to this school of thought, how come no relative of the presumed dead have come out to say their loved one is missing. Unless they are aliens, if you don’t see a relative for two or three days, the most natural thing to do is to report to the appropriate authorities.

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This mob action by both parties needs to stop.

I think this is sad that we may not really know what transpired at Lekki at the end of the day as sentiments and politics will bury the issue. That’s a big shame.

My opinion on this, while I believe people died at Lekki, it was definitely not a massacre going by the dictionary definition of the word. I also don’t know why the panel reported 9 dead and still defined what happened as a massacre. It seems the panel members wanted by all means to justify the massacre tag.

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Second, in my opinion, the committee did a shoddy job. With eminent personalities on the panel, I expected excellence instead they gave the federal government ammunitions to poke at the report. The report was disappointing, to say the least. It was riddled with inconsistencies and factual errors. The report cannot even stand in a law court.

Again, if we don’t know the truth of what happened, they can never be closure. So should the Lagos state or federal government form another panel? I don’t think so. So where should we go from here? So many questions with no answer. The Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s request for a peace walk was widely rejected.

I also think the objectives of the #EndSARS protest have been defeated. There are still countless reports of police brutality going on around the country because they have not been severe punishment meted to the deviant police officers. Police are still hiding in lone areas in Abuja extorting innocent people.

On September 12, 2021, Monsurat Ojuade, an admission seeker, was killed by a trigger-happy police officer, in Lagos state. The 18-year-old was shot by an officer while returning home from her mother’s shop alongside her sister.

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Also, a Lagos resident, Tunde Abass, was arrested for filming police officers allegedly harassing a driver.

Sadly, the list of police brutality is endless. Expecting the Nigerian police to change is mission impossible. A system where dropouts, cultists, and political thugs are recruited into the police force is bound to produce deviant officers. A complete overhaul of the police and recruitment system is the only way to reform our police force.

On the other hand, we also need to empathise with the families of policemen killed during the #EndSARS protest too. They are also Nigerians and deserve compensation. Not all our policemen are crooks, we still have some decent officers among them.

Back to the Lekki report, I think it will be a monumental tragedy if we don’t know the actual story of the Lekki shootings and Nigeria happens to the report. That would indeed be catastrophic.

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Nda-Isaiah, political director at Leadership, can be reached via 08061573299, 08054518774

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Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.

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