Fresh facts are emerging from the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS related abuses and other matters as the army told the panel that soldiers deployed to the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20 were armed with both live and blank bullets.
The Commander of 81 Division, Military Intelligence Brigade, Brig.-Gen. Ahmed Taiwo however told the panel that only the blank ones were fired into the air. He made the disclosure under cross examination at the resumed hearing of the panel. The committee granted a request by counsel to the #ENDSARS protesters, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana, to hire ballisticians and forensics experts to prove their allegations that they were shot at by the soldiers and policemen.
Ogunlana, a former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Ikeja Branch, had sought to know if there were in-house experts for that purpose. The Cable News Network (CNN) claimed in a recent report on the shooting that expended bullets found at the scene possibly came from Serbia. “My lord, has the panel made any arrangements for forensic experts and ballisticians? Ogunlana asked panel chairman, Judge emeritus Doris Okuwobi on Saturday.
She said in response: “Parties are free to bring whoever they want.” Ogunlana then agreed to make private arrangements for ballisticians and forensics experts. Prior to the cross-examination of Brig.-Gen Taiwo, the panel opted to first conclude the viewing of the surveillance video captured by the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) PTZ – Pan, Tilt and Zoom – camera.
The camera, according to LCC Managing Director Mr Abayomi Omomuwa, who tendered it to the panel on October 6, can identify small objects and zoom as far as 1.75 – 2 kilometres on any side. About four hours of the video was played on October 6, but lawyers to the parties agreed to limit the 21-hour footage to portions relevant to the shootings. The video is broken into footages of roughly 30 minutes in length.