The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into police brutality and the Lekki Toll Gate shooting has said the duplications in its Lekki shooting report was due to computer errors.
The panel’s position was made known in a statement issued by Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), a member of the panel.
The Lagos State government on Tuesday released its White Paper of the panel’s report, which was submitted to Babajde Sanwo-Olu, the state governor, on 15 November.
The panel had in its report stated that nine persons were killed during the #EndSARS protest at the toll gate on October 20, 2020, adding that the action of the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force on the night could be equated to a massacre.
However, the state government dismissed the findings of the panel, describing the report of deaths as “assumptions and speculations”.
The government also faulted the duplication of names and details in the report, saying it created contradictions, as well as “doubts and gaps”.
But in its first official statement since submitting its report and the release of the government’s White Paper, the panel, according to Adegboruwa, faulted the government for “cherry-picking” in its own summation, saying it (LASG) focused on parts of the report that were muddled up by computer glitches to disparage the report.
The panel said the state could have reached out to members for clarifications where necessary.
The statement read: “The chairperson, all panel members and indeed the secretariat of the Panel were all within the reach of the LASG for clarifications if there was sincerity, other than picking holes in order to evade responsibility on account of computer errors and tabular alignments of cut and paste.
“This was a misnomer from the spreadsheet that ought to have terminated at Page 297 but mistakenly overlapped to Page 298 with the same names and same numbers,” the panel said.
“It was the computer error of the secretariat of the panel which could have been corrected as the secretariat of the panel was domiciled in the ministry of justice at all times.”
The panel insisted that despite the stance of the state government, it does not alter the course of history that a massacre occurred at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.
“The panel considered several definitions of the word MASSACRE and adopted one of the dictionary meanings of MASSACRE as being ‘the act or instance of killing a number of usually helpless or unresisting human beings under circumstances of atrocity or cruelty’.
“The Panel considered that firing live bullets at unarmed, peaceful and unresisting protesters which led to the death of some of them, was cruel and atrocious on the part of the military and the police. The White Paper ignored these explanations and findings by the Panel.
“In any event, the mere fact of repetition of same names on a table cannot without more, nullify the uncontroverted evidence of death,” the statement read.