One of the coordinators of the #EndSARS protests Serah Ibrahim has presented fresh videos and pictures appearing to show people allegedly shot dead or injured by the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20, 2020.
Ibrahim’s evidence was played before the Lagos State Judicial Panel probing police brutality and the tollgate incident in continuation of her testimony about the army’s role in ending the protests.
The witness, a freelance auditor, first appeared before the panel on April 18, when she alleged that at least 10 people were shot dead by the soldiers.
She also tendered flash drives containing the videos and pictures, some of which she said she shot personally with her iPhone.
The army, which appeared thrice before the panel, denied the allegations, saying it fired blank bullets in the air to disperse the crowd.
It has, however, shunned repeated summons by the panel requiring it to respond to petitioners’ further questions and evidence debunking its claims.
There are no fewer than 14 petitions relating to the shooting incident, out of the 235 petitions received by the panel between October and December 2020.
Ibrahim resumed her testimony while being led by Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Mr Olumide-Fusika.
The videos, played before the panel, showed the soldiers present at the toll gate, shooting into the air. It also seemed that they also fired at the protesters.
It showed what appeared to be bodies – about at least five – with several other protesters injured.
One after the other, Ibrahim played the videos, explaining in the process that the soldiers not only shot at harmless protesters, they even took away some of the dead bodies.
The witness said the videos and pictures were evidence that the army lied about firing only blanks.
In one of the videos, the witness showed the entrance of one of the hospitals that victims were taken to, saying the hospital was overwhelmed.
“That is the entrance of a hospital, there were people all over. They were attending to people at the car park,” Ms Ibrahim said.
According to her, soldiers took away the bodies of several protesters that they shot.
She specifically mentioned that the soldiers took away one of the shooting victims, Lekan Sanusi. Sanusi, an active protester, was thought to be dead.
It was later found out he was taken to MRS Hospital at Bonny Camp where an unidentified nurse helped him to escape.
“They took the bodies to the Military Hospital. We got to know because one of the people in the van that was not yet dead said he counted 11 bodies. It was one of the nurses there that saw that he was still alive that helped him,” she said.
Last October 30, the panel paid an unscheduled visit to the Military Hospital as part of its investigation into the Lekki shooting incident but did not find any corpse at the morgue as the hospital was undergoing renovation.
But the witness insisted that the bodies taken from the scene by the soldiers were taken to the Military Hospital.
“Some people didn’t let the army carry some of the dead bodies of people that they know. They were hiding them and dragged them to the shanties,” she added.
Serah also played videos of some persons who suffered gunshot wounds from bullets allegedly shot by the military with protesters surrounding them and trying to tend to their wounds.
When asked if she could authenticate the videos as to the time they were taken and the location, she mentioned that anyone could do this using Google Drive and she proceeded to demonstrate how it could be done.
The videos of two mothers who claimed to have lost their sons at the protest ground were also played.
One of the mothers, Mrs Ndifreke Sunday, testified in Efik, which was interpreted to the panel.
“My child bears Victor Sunday Ikana. Their father died and left them, and I took care of them. He went to Lagos and has been staying for long. He sends help (money) to me and his siblings, one boy and three girls.
“On 20th of October, someone called me and said I should call Npoi-Ikana. When I called, his phone rang but he did not respond. Then I called his friend, who is also in Lagos.”
The bereaved mother said her son’s friend told her that Ikana was shot and killed, but she had not seen his corpse.
Another mother, whose video interview was played at the panel, said she picked up the corpse of her son at the shanty near the Lekki tollgate, among other corpses.
“They said people were not killed, but we saw many corpses. We identified my son with the cloth he was wearing,” she said.
Judge emeritus Doris Okuwobi, who chairs the panel, adjourned further hearing till May 15.