What is a massacre actually? An indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of many people. As a verb, Oxford describes it as say: thousands were brutally massacred by soldiers. A massacre entails the brutal killing of many many people. In hundreds or thousands, perhaps even more. The leaked, porous, unsigned report of the Endsars panel in Lagos describes the events of October 20th, 2020; as one that can be ‘likened’ to a massacre. Meaning that even the unverified report has settled to the hard reality that a massacre did not take place — even though so much has been done to reach out and connect, or describe, or as best put by the panel, liken the event of Lekki to a massacre.
A legal luminary, AI Awokoya Esq. reflects on the lekki protests and defines that the panel’s findings were purely anecdotal, and devoid of any scientific or evidentiary findings. Evidences given by a coroner and a forensic expert were thrown out, because of prejudicial dispositions and lack of better judgement. At first DJ Switch counted 78 bodies, CNN pruned it down to 56, BBC went for 38, feminists agreed on a 23, and last but not the least, judging from the flow of events; the panel says 9 bodies.
This 9 bodies report has been punctured, punctuated and ruptured by atleast 5 to 6 names, which makes it quite shaky and perhaps, not factual. The whole idea of sticking to a make believe massacre that is claimed to have taken place can also be likened to ferrying water in a basket, to fill an over head tank! It just isn’t adding up and here’s why:
The panel interviewed a certain Nathaniel Solomon, who was witness to the death of his brother, who sustained injuries from the Lekki Toll Gate. Solomon was again listed as one of those killed at the massacre, after appearing at the panel to give accounts of the massacre. Another Kolade Salami, who was killed by SARS operatives in 2019, appears to have been resurrected and massacred at Lekki. Another Chiemezi Natah, killed at Somolu police station by a stray bullet on the 7th of December, 2020; is also listed to have been massacred at Lekki on the 20th of October, 2020.
There are names like Wisdom, Jide, and Tola, who do not have surnames and cannot even be identified or narrowed down to particular individuals. We also have a Folorunsho Olabisi, whose corpse was claimed to have been deposited at St. Nicholas Hospital; whereas the hospital had clarified that it had no mortuary facilities. Folorunsho was also peddled to have been killed at Lekki. The panel report claims that 9 dead bodies were deposited in 36 morgues. It means that each body was put in 4 different morgues concurrently? How does that happen?
The panel went further to say that the protest was primarily about gaining freedom from an ethno-religious tension that has plagued the framing of Nigeria! So it wasn’t about police brutality? Perhaps credence should be given to the idea that the protest was about unseating the government via an insurrection. An opposition party apologist underlined that the report was a golden opportunity to use against the APC in 2023. Another apologist claimed that the endsars was the last ditch opportunity for the opposition to dethrone the government, and they have flunked it. One of the key drivers of the panel, is known to have been in litigation with Lagos state government over the collection of tolls at Lekki Toll Gate, aside leading several protests against the government. How does an enemy of state, become the adjudicator against the state? How did Lagos state find itself in this state?
There is not a single line, paragraph or page of the report that indicts anyone, for the gruesome killing of policemen. No less than 22 were killed by the rampaging protesters. Some were roasted and eaten in other states. No mention was made about the billions in destroyed properties, or any compensation whatsoever for the victims. No one is responsible and no one should be held to account? The saner climes we profess so much love to, have Steve Bannon, former Whitehouse Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President, indicted for his role in the attack on Capitol Hill. Numerous other arrests of the players have been made as they face prosecution. Is the Lagos Endsars panel giving amnesty to the destructive youths that nearly burned down Lagos?
he report is leaked, porous, filled with mistakes and perhaps a protesters’ version of it. It is more than half way to go as the Lagos state govt is still to examine the document and release a white paper on its findings and course of action. The Federal Government has also told the US Secretary of State that it was awaiting the actions of the states, regarding the events of the endsars protests and the unfortunate loss of lives and property. I cannot be averse to finding justice to whoever was killed extra-judicially, but we must do it right, without killing ‘witnesses’, resurrecting bodies and tagging them ‘Lekki deceased’, all because our maniacal agenda must ‘agend’! Nigeria just got knocked off the religious violators list by the US. Massacre was the magic word to peddle the narrative of a dictatorial government that has no respect for human lives; and meanwhile, the government’s by the book and by the laws’ code of conduct, might just be reeling it into more trouble than desired. Hitting the bigger enemies of state harder, might just be the antidote to the smaller miscreants; who think that toying with the destiny of a nation of millions, to enable their foreign citizenships and other junketing agenda, is a welcome sport.
–Tahir is Talban Bauchi.