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Pathologist tenders autopsy reports of 99 persons killed during #EndSARS protests

Pathologist tenders autopsy reports of 99 persons killed during #EndSARS protests
June 20
14:25 2021

John Obafunwa, chief pathologist at the Lagos state University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), has submitted autopsy reports of 99 persons killed during the #EndSARS protests in Lagos to the state judicial panel of inquiry.

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In October 2020, Nigerians across the country took to the streets to demonstrate against police brutality under the #EndSARS campaign.

On October 20, soldiers invaded the Lekki tollgate, where some demonstrators had gathered, and fired shots.

There has been a controversy around the casualty figures since the incident occurred.

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Speaking at the hearing of the judicial panel on June 6, Obafunwa said 99 bodies were received for autopsy between October 20 and 24.

He said out of the 99 bodies received, three were brought in from Lekki and the remaining bodies were received from other parts of the state including Surulere, Ikorodu, Ajah, Fagba, among others.

Obafunwa had then been asked to submit the reports to the panel.

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According to the PUNCH, giving evidence at the panel on Saturday, Obafunwa said the 99 bodies, which include three killed at the Lekki tollgate, were deposited at the mortuary between October 19 and October 24, 2020.

He said the ethical practice, especially during a mass disaster or a situation where all sorts of speculations arise, is to carry out an x-ray before you put a knife to a body.

“You need to look for hidden fractures or prosthesis. It will help if such is discovered because it will be circumstantial evidence to make you say that this body belongs to this person,” he said.

“We need to avoid sensationalism. If you look at a page in the report I submitted, all I did was to summarise. However, if I do an autopsy and I do not do radiography, you would tear me to pieces if I come to court with such a record. That is why I had to do everything, leaving nothing to chance.”

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Doris Okuwobi, chair of the panel, ruled that the records presented be accepted as evidence and adjourned further hearing till June 26.

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