One of the #EndSARS protesters, Olamilekan Sanusi who witnessed and survived the shootings by Nigerian military men at Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos has testified that he counted no fewer than 10 dead persons during the massacre that occurred last year.
This was contained in the testimony Sanusi gave before the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the investigation on May 22, 2021, which was obtained by SaharaReporters at the weekend.
Sanusi had written a petition against the Nigerian Army and the Lagos State Government.
Appearing before Rabiat Fawehinmi-Morakinyo, C.O. Ngoka and others, Sanusi had said in his testimony, “About eleven (11) people died that they took away and some other people were lying on the floor. For the toilet of the hospital to be filled with blood, it means a lot of people died.”
Counsel for the Lagos State Government on the #EndSARS Panel, Abiodun Owonikoko had questioned the content of the report, saying there were discrepancies in it.
He had also questioned the testimonies given by eyewitnesses and survivors like Sanusi, saying some of the names did not exist but were smuggled into the report.
Owonikoko had said, “All the evidence we were able to gather during the proceedings, none of them could be fully established.”
In Sanusi’s testimony, however, he told the Panel that the protest ground was calm until the invasion of military men who shot at and killed peaceful protesters.
He narrated the event of the fateful October 20, saying, “The MC announced in the morning, close to 12pm that there was going to be a curfew but we will all be there. He later called that the curfew had been called. Later on, he came to say it is the Policemen that will address us. We even practised how we would sit when they come.
“They told us to give them water and food and we will listen to them and they will leave. After that, we were expecting them to come, we were asked to pick round the vicinity of the toll gate and the Hygiene group members did. I was stationed at the front of the stage. We picked plastic bottles and took them to the... Later on, I saw Protesters running from Sandfill area to the stage shouting that they have come. Later on, I was hearing gunshots and they asked us to sit down and wave our flags which I did.”
When asked if he saw those who shot at them, Sanusi said he did.
He said, “We saw them. They were in Nigerian Army uniform. Later when they asked us to sit on the floor, I saw military men on a straight line coming toward the stage. Because I was stationed at the stage, I saw down at the front of the stage. I saw protesters carrying other protesters lifeless bodies to the feet of the stage. I counted ten (10) lifeless bodies at the feet of the military men. I later saw them carrying bodies to the military van parked close to Diamond Bank.”
He said after the shooting, a military man identified as F. Omata made futile attempts to appeal to them, but that the protesters were not keen to listen because of the shooting.
According to him, when Omata left, three soldiers with bayonets started scattering the things on the stage and a speaker fell on him in the process.
He said, “I fell down and could not move. I could hear one protester saying let’s take him to the hospital and another said they should take me to the feet of the military men. I later heard someone say, take him to the van.
“I could hear a woman saying ‘you must not die, my son’. I was lying beside her wearing blue, she was holding her son’s hand saying you must not die. I was hearing a sound like the wind. I tried to open my eyes but I could not. I later found myself in a hospital with a drip.”
Sanusi noted that he and some others were taken to a military hospital in Lagos and that he was out for long, adding that he was later told he was in a coma for 7 hours.
“My hand was broken and there is a hole in my head. I have a headache all the time,” he said when asked to state the kind of injuries he sustained.
He continued, “The mobile Policemen at Marina and those people outside were shooting at people passing in the morning.”
And when asked if there was a protest there, he said yes.
“Since we heard they were going to finish us, we sneaked through the back of the Governor’s house back to Lekki. I was resting every two minutes because I could not walk properly. “We trekked from Marina to Lekki before I met some friends who took me to where I laid my head. That was where a doctor recommended the doctor that was taking care of me at home,” he said.
He, however, demanded justice, saying, “I want the Panel to find those who ordered the shooting. I want justice. I want the toll gate to be a memorial ground for those who died.
“Anytime I see a man carrying a gun, I am traumatised. I have a constant headache. I am a contractor and I have people working under me, I am in debt because I have not been working and I have nightmares.”
A source in the panel told SaharaReporters that one Serah Ibrahim also gave evidence supporting Sanusi’s case.
“Meanwhile, there was no evidence from the Army to counter this,” the source said.