Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday revealed that there were no bloodstains at the scene of the shooting incident at the Lekki Toll Plaza last Tuesday, contrary to several reports from several eyewitnesses that some protesters died as a result of the shooting which also left about 30 persons injured.
But the governor also maintained his earlier position that only two persons died as a result of the gruesome incident.
There had been public outrage a day after the incident when the governor claimed that nobody died after security operatives fired live bullets into the crowd of protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza at Admiralty Way.
Although the governor later admitted that one person had been reported dead, he insisted that it was not as a result of the shooting but due to blunt force trauma to the head, adding that investigation was on to find out if he was indeed one of the protesters.
Sanwo-Olu who spoke to CNN’s Becky Anderson said, “Two dead bodies, that is what we have seen from all the morgues, that’s what we have seen going to hospitals, that’s what we have seen as record.
“What has happened is that there have been so many footages that were seen, that people have shown, but we have not seen bodies, we have not seen relatives, we have not seen anybody truly coming out to say I am a father or a mother to someone and I cannot find that person. Nobody has turned up. I have been to the ground, there is no scratch of blood anywhere there.”
He admitted that the footages showed clearly that security operatives who shot at the protesters were from the military despite several denials from the Defense Headquarters denying any knowledge of the incident or ordering its men to fire at the protesters.
“From the footage that we could see, because there were cameras at that facility, it seems to me that they would be men in military uniform. That’s what the footage shows,” the governor said.
While insisting that there was no form of international pressure as a result of the protests, Sanwo-Olu said that the demands of the protesters were genuine, recalling that he had identified with them from the onset and presented their demands to the President for implementation.
“I genuinely believe there would be change. For two reasons; what has happened, especially in Lagos is extremely unimaginable. Also, it was also a clarion call for all of us in government understanding and realizing what the youths want us to be doing. It hit all of us like a thunderbolt and it was just a wake-up call.”
Sanwo-Olu assured that the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) footages will be part of the investigation by the judicial panel already set up to investigate the incident, which according to him has already started sitting on Monday.
“People have claimed that their friends and family members have been killed or went missing over the years. That is what the judicial panel is meant to do. It is to answer all the unanswered questions and ensure justice. We will invite those who have one case or the other to try and identify those officers who were responsible”.
Asked if he was committed to full investigation of the incident, the governor responded, “absolutely”.
But he said, “it was beyond his control” to mete out punishment to those found culpable, however assuring that those responsible will be held accountable.
“I am not the commander in chief of the Armed forces. The report will be out, we will channel the report to all the relevant authorities in the State to ensure everyone that is found culpable is accountable for the act,” he said.
Asked if the now-disbanded FSARS were indeed a terror squad, Sanwo-Olu responded: “it would be unfair to generalize everyone like that. Everyone agrees that there is a reform that needs to take place, there is a change that needs to take place, there is some truth that needs to come on board.
“I have been an advocate that indeed, they should be scrapped, let us have genuine reforms and let us have a better conversation of how we police our citizens and the State so that we can have more enduring citizens and police relationships.
But he insisted that some of the misdemeanor attributed to men of the unit was a result of being ill-trained and ill-motivated.
“I think it is a group that has been ill-trained, they have been ill-motivated, they have not been fully equipped with standard operative template for them to know and appreciate the level of their level of responsibility in our society that’s why it seems that they just went off the cuff completely, probably also because they were not well remunerated and compensated, everybody that drives a flashy car, they feel they can extort. Unfortunately, that is condemnable,” the governor said.