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Sanwo-Olu

Counsel for some #EndSARS protesters in Lagos State, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana, has said Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu will have to appear before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the alleged killing of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki tollgate on the night of October 20.

Ogunlana said since the military claimed before the panel that their operation on that day was on the invitation of the governor, it would be important for the governor to appear before the panel, particularly to demonstrate his professed belief in the rule of law.

The Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos, Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo, had during his cross-examination last Saturday said the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, ordered the deployment of soldiers to the tollgate and other parts of the state that day following a request by the governor.

“He (the governor) called the Chief of Army Staff, following which 81 Division, Nigerian Army was ordered into phase four of internal security operation; the call was in the afternoon, before 4p.m,” Taiwo told the panel.

Meanwhile, in an interview with The PUNCH on Friday, the lawyer was asked if the appearance of the governor was important to the case of his clients and whether he would be pushing for the governor’s appearance before the panel.

Ogunlana said, “Of course, that is taken (sic). That person (Sanwo-Olu) will have to come; he’s a factor and he will come. He says he believes in the rule of law, his Attorney General, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), has come to appear before that panel to just make a short speech and to affirm that the Lagos State Government is indeed committed to unraveling the truth about what happened at Lekki on that day; and the military has mentioned him, so, he is a factor.”

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While the Nigerian Army has consistently maintained that it did not kill any of the #EndSARS protesters, Ogunlana, on the other hand, insisted that “people died on my side.”

His clients, Kamsiyochukwu Perpetual, Dabira Ayuku and Samuel Isah, had in their individual affidavits on oath submitted to the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel, stressed that soldiers and policemen shot and killed protesters.

Perpetual, in her petition, stated that she saw many dead bodies, including one with a bullet-torn head at Reddington Hospital, Lekki the morning after the shootings.

“The doctors refused us access to see the dead bodies. The media man waded in again and we could only see one of the dead bodies whose head was torn by (a) bullet fired to his head. He laid at the emergency unit. The doctor called the corpse ‘John Doe’ (sic).”

Ayuku, in her statement on oath, said, “The soldiers were asking people to run whilst they shot at them. I remember a particular soldier that kept dancing whilst he shot.”

Also, Isah said he witnessed how policemen allegedly gunned down a Nigerian flag-bearing youth.

He said, “That young man was hit by bullet in his head and died immediately, falling to the road with the Nigerian flag in his hand (sic).”

Isah said he managed to video the shootings by soldiers on his mobile and had submitted two footages to the panel.

But Taiwo, who testified for the Nigerian Army before the panel on November 14, said soldiers used only blank bullets, which they fired into the air.

“Blank expended ammunition contains only gunpowder, which just makes noise and a flash,” Taiwo said.

The general said a blank bullet “can do no damage to the flesh and you have nothing to fear except you take a rifle, put it against your eye and fire. Even if you put it against your skin and fire you will only have burn marks to show for it.”


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