Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, has finally broken his silence on the report submitted by the state’s Judicial Panel of Inquiry that investigated the Lekki Toll Gate shooting, saying the leakage of the report has reopened a “deep wound”.
Governor Sanwo-Olu stated this at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday.
The Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel had in its report submitted on 15 November to the Lagos State government and leaked to the public stated that at least nine persons were killed by the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Police Force at the toll gate during the #EndSARS protest on October 20, 2020, adding that the action of the security forces can be equated to a massacre.
Following the leakage, there have been varied reactions to the report, with some applauding it while others have vehemently rejected it.
Speaking on the reactions generated by the report, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the report has caused much tension in the state.
He said: “It is with great sense of responsibility that I address you today on the reactions that have trailed the release of the #EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry Report submitted to me two weeks ago, and how it has played out in public discourse since then.
“I believe — and have always been vocal about this — that we owe it to you, the people of Lagos, to constantly speak and engage with you. In easy times, in difficult circumstances, we will never shy away from making our case to you, while also ensuring that we listen to you.
“I will start by saying that we, as an administration, are determined that the next steps that will be taken in this process of coming to terms with the events of October 2020, must bring closure to a painful episode in the history of our State, with the release of the White Paper later today.
“In the aftermath of what happened on October 20, 2020, I decided to expand the mandate of the Panel to include investigating what really happened at the Lekki Tollgate that night.”
The governor insisted that the state government is only interested in unravelling the truth and would ensure its action in implementing the report stands on the side of the law.
“As a matter of good faith and a sincere commitment to uncovering the truth, we constituted a panel of individuals that we believed were independent, credible, and representative of the various stakeholder community interested in the movement against police brutality.
“Apart from the Chairman of the panel being a respected retired jurist, various stakeholders including the youths, #EndSars protesters, the police and civil society groups were represented on the panel.
“I am sure no member of the panel can claim that the state government made any attempt to influence them in any way throughout the duration of its sitting.
“While I commend the panel for undertaking its task to the best of its abilities, it is however regrettable that the panel’s work and the leakage of an unauthorized version of the report have generated much tension. Sadly, a deep wound has been reopened.
“The heated exchanges among various shades of opinion on the report have unfortunately put us all at the risk of missing the larger picture; the fact that what we all seek in common is a land in which we are all safe and secure, law enforcement agents are trusted, and justice is guaranteed for all.
“As I have stated earlier, we have no intention to engage in histrionics or further inflame passion on a matter that has generated intense interest and controversy nationally and internationally. Our decisions and actions will be based entirely on the law, the weight of evidence and an unblemished respect for the truth.”