The lead counsel representing the Endsars petitioners, Adeshina Ogunlana, has raised objections to the stance taken by the Lagos state government regarding the leaked memo authorizing the mass burial of 103 victims of the EndSARS protests.
The leaked memo, which surfaced on social media on Sunday, revealed that the Lagos State Ministry of Health had granted approval for the allocation of N61,285,000 for the burial of the victims who were identified as casualties of the 2020 EndSARS protests.
However, in response to the leaked memo, the Lagos State Government refuted the claim that the victims to be buried were not related to the contentious Lekki Tollgate shooting.
Adeshina Ogunlana Expressed His Disagreement With The Lagos State Government
In an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, Adeshina Ogunlana expressed his disagreement with the Lagos State Government’s position, asserting that they are attempting to be deceptively sly in their response.
He said “Government is being clever by half and they are not telling the absolute truth. Yes, I agree with the position that the 103 bodies were said, not all of them were picked up from Lekki toll gate and its environs.
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“To use the word the pathologist used at the panel, that is Professor Obafunwa, said bodies were scavenged, and corpses were picked from different places. But around the area of Lekki Toll Gate, they were corpses too, some of them were dumped at the General Hospital, Lagos Island, and all that.”
He went on to denounce the government’s claim that there were no identified citizens from the Lekki Toll Gate incident. He argued that the 103 individuals scheduled for burial by the government also remain unnamed.
“For the government now to be saying oh no there is no named citizen, the question I want to ask them is this, even the 103 corpses that they want to dispose of, do they have any names? There was no name.
“The bodies that were taken around the environment of Lekki toll gate when Baba Fafunwa was speaking, he at least identified three that were perforated with missiles,” he said.
The legal practitioner, however, clarified that the notion circulating among certain groups that all 103 bodies originated from the Lekki Toll Gate is also inaccurate.
“People saying that the 103 is proof that actually 103 people were killed at the Lekki toll gate is a very grave error and I will not join anybody saying that.
“But to say that there was no body recovered in the environs of the Lekki toll gate incident of 2020 is completely wrong,” he noted.
Ogunlana made a strong claim, stating that the government was seeking to “capitalize on the tragic loss of lives” by allocating an excessive sum of over N60 million for the mass burial.
“Even now the system of government that we have in Lagos State and by extension Nigeria is showing that they want to profit by cruel loss of lives.
“How could you say that you have approved N61 million to bury 103 degraded bodies in a mass grave? People that are unidentified, people that nobody came up to claim and all that, I mean that is horrendous,” Ogunlana lamented.
The EndSARS protest, which occurred in 2020, sparked controversy over the number of deaths recorded during the demonstrations. Both the Lagos Government and the Federal Government consistently denied any involvement in mass killings during the protests.
However, in response to public concern, the governor initiated an inquest led by Justice Doris Okuwobi to investigate the matter.
The protest saw thousands of Nigerians from all over the country taking to the streets to demand an end to police brutality and significant reforms, particularly regarding the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police. The demonstrations gained widespread attention both nationally and internationally.
One of the focal points of the protests was the popular Lekki Tollgate in Lagos, where protesters gathered. Tragically, the situation culminated in a controversial shooting of protesters at the tollgate, adding to the already heated debate surrounding the events of the protests.
Despite the passing of over two years since the widespread demonstrations, the Lagos Government has remained silent on a leaked memo related to the issue. The leaked memo may shed light on the events and the government’s response during the EndSARS protests.
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