As social media, traditional media reports and witness accounts mount before the Justice Doris Obiokwu Judicial Panel investigating the Lekki Toll Gate shooting in Lagos, there appears a persistent correlation in most of the reports identifying the perpetrators and victims.
So far, one person, mostly described as wearing “white native attire” among the policemen on the scene that night, has consistently stuck up in the stories—as one among the shooters. Another has also consistently featured—as a protester shot dead.
An #EndSARS protester, Samuel Isah, gave the latest account of the shooting, oral and video, under an oath before the panel on November 15.
According to one of the episodes in his account of the incident, a young man was shot at close range in the head, and he died.
Isah said the policemen dressed in their uniform, as well as another “man wearing white native attire” arrived at the tollgate in a police van around 11.30pm, and “began to shoot directly at protesters.”
Isah testified alongside Kamsiyuchukwu Perpetual, Dabiraoluwa Adeyinka Honey Ayuku in a petition their lawyer Adesina Ogunlana submitted to the panel on November 11.
That was 22 days after the incident, and 11 days after accounts by other protesters identified the “man in white attire” leading the police to the scene that October 20 night.
One of those earlier accounts was that reported in the Premium Times. The newspaper’s October 31 investigation reported how protesters identified the “man in white” .
According to the report, protesters resident in a certain shanty around Lekki brought out spent bullets they collected at the toll gate after the shooting.
Some of the residents who joined the protest that night identified a team led by Raji Ganiyu, “a chief superintendent from the Maroko Police Station, whom they described as wearing “white native attire” that day. The also accused the police men of shooting and killing protesters, including a mad man many in the area knew.
“DPO of Maroko we see am face to face wey e blow one person head pull the skull off. Pistol. E wear white and white,” the newspaper quoted one of the witnesses as saying in Pidgin English.
Earlier accounts by one of the protest leaders also included the police episode. According to DJ Switch, when the 65 Battalion soldiers withdrew from the toll gate that night, truckloads of policemen came, shooting.
Maroko, where the police station and its DPO Ganiyu mentioned might have come from, if the witnesses’ accounts are true, is about two kilometers from the Lekki toll gate.
To ascertain whether the “man in white” actually killed the mad man, as reports keep confirming, will be a matter of rigorous investigation. And the likelihood of the accounts being true or false is strong.
For instance, it is not impossible Isa and his fellow witnesses in the November 15 deposition before the panel tailored their testimonies; they came at least 11 days after reports were already out—that a man in white, leading the police, killed a mad man that October 20 at the Lekki tollgate.
It will require some proof, too, against the Force headquarters position. Through its PRO Frank Mba, the police has insisted there was no evidence, online or offline, to prove the police deployed that night.
It’s not impossible either—that the police, because of the torching of police station and lynching of their colleagues at Orile and elsewhere around Lagos on the morning of October 20, chose the cover of night to perpetrate extra-judicial killing of unarmed protesters. After all, there were accounts of police and hoodlums clashing and being hospitalized around Ajah and its environs that night
So far, in the mayhem many local and international NGOs and media have reported as a massacre, two protesters have been officially announced as dead, out of about 30 hospitalised following the shooting on October 20.
Most of investigative media reports available so far have only established two deaths, with witnesses insisting many more were killed, and their bodies taken away by the police and soldiers.
The case of one protester allegedly shot dead by the “man in white native attire” demands attention too—no matter his mental state.