Members of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing the Lekki shootings have paid an unscheduled visit to the Military Hospital morgue at Ikoyi. The mission of the panel was to inspect the mortuary of the hospital.
A member of the panel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, while speaking at the hospital premises, said the panel got a tip-off that prompted the visit. He added, “We got information impromptu, we could not give them notice because of the importance of what we want to do; it is an investigation. So, if we give information ahead of time that may jeopardise the essence of the investigation.
“We are exercising our mandate on behalf of the governor of Lagos State under the tribunals of inquiry law. We have already inspected the Lekki toll gate today and we decided to pay an unscheduled visit to the mortuary of the Military Hospital because we have confidential information concerning certain events that took place in the hospital here.”
Continuing, Adegboruwa, stated: “We don’t want to make any conclusions yet until we have access to that mortuary to inspect it. We have a pathologist with us who is here to help us conduct medical examination of bodies that we may find in the mortuary.”
Meanwhile, a military officer identified as Brigadier General AI Taiwo, earlier told members of the Judicial Panel that the Military Hospital morgue has been under renovation since October 2019.
After initial resistance by the soldiers, which lasted for about 30 minutes, the panel members were finally allowed into the hospital. The brigadier general and other soldiers took members of the panel led by the chairman, Retired Justice Doris Okwuobi, to the morgue in the hospital.
Asked if there was a functional morgue in the hospital, Taiwo said, “This place has been under renovation since October last year.”
The chairman of the panel, however, thanked Taiwo and his men for their cooperation, at the end of the inspection. Meanwhile, it could be recalled that the Nigerian Army denied an alleged massacre of protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza.
The spokesperson of the Nigerian Army 81 Division, Major Osoba Olaniyi, in a statement this week had said that at no time did soldiers of the Nigerian Army open fire on any civilian. He said Army never got involved in the #EndSARS protests until when Lagos State government invited the military after a 24-hour curfew was imposed due to reports of Police stations being burnt.
“From the onset of the #ENDSARS protest, there was no time personnel of 81 Division Nigerian Army Lagos were involved. However, the decision to call in the military was taken by the Lagos State Government (LASG) after a 24 hours curfew was imposed.
“This was as a result of the violence which led to several police stations being burnt, policemen killed, suspects in police custody released and weapons carted away.
“The situation was fast degenerating into anarchy. It was at this point that LASG requested for the military to intervene in order to restore normalcy. The intervention of the military followed all laid down procedures for Internal Security operations and all the soldiers involved acted within the confines of the Rules of Engagement (ROE) for Internal Security operations,” the statement read.
The Army insisted that they did not shoot any civilian and that there is glaring and convincing evidence to attest to this fact. They maintained that the allegations of shootings is the “hand work of mischief makers who will stop at nothing to tarnish the image of the Nigerian Army.”