A medical doctor from Reddington Hospital, Lagos, Dr. Babajide Lawson on Saturday presented the medical records of some of the patients admitted and treated following the shooting of peaceful protesters by men of the Nigerian Army at Lekki Tollgate on October 20, 2020.
Lawson, a trauma and orthopaedic surgeon in the hospital, submitted the case files to the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS and the Lekki Tollgate Incident.
The Nigerian Army has been indicted for opening fire with live bullets on peaceful protesters during #EndSARS protests, held to demand an end to police brutality at the Lekki Tollgate, Lagos.
Some of the protesters have submitted petitions to the panel alleging that men of the Army’s 81 Division shot at and killed several #EndSARS protesters that night, an allegation the Army denied.
It has also been reported that the Army has boycotted further appearance at the panel, without giving any reason.
“On the night of this event, in the Lekki facility, when patients were brought in, it was a mass gathering situation in which case you have a large number of people presenting at the same time, literarily overwhelming the facility.
“In that kind of situation, there are lots of cases that might be compromised. If this patient says he was treated at the hospital, he can present at the hospital and get a medical report,” Lawson said.
The counsel for the panel, Jonathan Ogunsanya, informed the panel that he now had in his possession a total of 25 case notes submitted by the hospital.
He noted that they were detailed and would help give precision to cases of petitioners before the panel.
Last month, Dr Lawson told the panel that the hospital had mass casualties on October 20, but proper records of the number may not have been kept because the medical staff on duty were overwhelmed.
According to the doctor, the hospital was more worried about saving lives and so did not prioritise the time patients arrived at its facility.
One of the patients treated at Reddington, Lucky Philemon, also testified before the panel.
Philemon, who walked with the aid of crutches, had earlier testified on February 27 that he was shot by soldiers at the scene on October 20, but the absence of his medical records before the panel had hindered proceedings.
Philemon is demanding compensation of N200 million in damages for the inconvenience of losing his limbs as well as another $50,000 for prosthetic limbs.
Philemon’s counsel, John Uthman demonstrated to the panel that his client arrived at the hospital for treatment at about 9 pm contrary to the insinuations by the counsel for the Lagos State Government that he presented himself for treatment at 11.30 pm and could not have been shot at the Lekki Toll Gate.
The complete medical records of the petitioner showed that he received medical treatment at about 9 pm and later at about 11.30 pm.
A second witness Richard Oku, who testified for the petitioner, Lucky Philemon also told the panel that at 6.45 pm on October 20, the army arrived at the Lekki Tollgate and started shooting.
In his narration of how he helped Philemon, he said, “I heard on the radio that a protest was going on at the Lekki tollgate and I decided to go there around 4 pm.
“At 6.45 pm or so, we saw the army people arrive and started shooting. DJ Switch was on stage telling people to be calm and sit down. Some sat down, others could not bear it and started running.
“I also found a way to leave. I saw one man beside me shot. I saw another try to get up, his leg had been shot, he could not make it and other people were stepping on him and others as they were running. I stopped one man and we helped him to the side of the toll so that people would not step on him. I picked his phone and left him.
“I found my way to Lekki gate and I saw private cars stopping there. I approached them to help. I went back to the toll and helped an elderly woman and a young man to the hospital with the car that agreed to help.
“We went to a hospital in Ajah, Doreen Hospital. They were treated then. it was later that the petitioner’s brother called his phone which I had picked and that’s how I came to know his name and to also testify in his case.”
The panel adjourned to March 27 for the petitioner and Reddington Hospital to continue with their testimonies.