How soldiers blocked Lagos judicial panel from accessing military mortuary in Ikoyi

Army personnel on Friday prevented members of the Lagos judicial panel on police brutality and incidents of the #EndSARS from assessing the mortuary at the Military Hospital in Ikoyi.

The panel went to the hospital 'unannounced' on investigation into the shooting at Lekki tollgate where dozens of #EndSARS protesters were reportedly killed.

Witnesses of the Lekki shooting accused the military of taking away the bodies of those killed in the incident. 

The panel met resistance as it got to the hospital as soldiers manning the gate blocked them from entering.

Ebun Adegboruwa, a member of the panel, told the soldiers that the panel came to the hospital because it had intelligence that might help with its investigation. 

“The facility is relevant to our investigation. We have a pathologist. We are here on the authority of the president, not only the governor,” he said.

“We are following dues process, and it is important we visit the mortuary as it will help our findings. 

“If we are not allowed access, we will go back and take other actions. We won’t force ourselves in. We have confidential information that the military hospital here is relevant in the investigation of the Lekki event. We heard this hospital is controlled by 65 battalion, and under the 81 division. We are also taking steps to reach military authorities.” 

Adegboruwa said though the panel does not have evidence that there are bodies of those killed at the tollgate in the hospital, it was at the facility to verify the claim that they were.

Meanwhile, according to Sahara Reporters, at least 20 bodies of the protesters killed during the shooting were secretly moved to the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) mortuary in Yaba. 

The victims were reportedly moved to the IDH mortuary after a postmortem examinations was conducted on their bodies at the Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja. 

The IDH mortuary is beside the 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital (68 NARHY), a military health facility in Yaba.

Soldiers had last week Tuesday, Oct. 20, opened fire on the protesters, who had converged at the Lekki Toll Gate to protest against police brutality.

The incident triggered a global outrage, with calls for justice echoing from different parts of the world.

It was gathered that before the shooting started, some officials uninstalled the Closed Circuit Television cameras in the area.

The electricity at the protest area was also disconnected to prevent demonstrators from filming the attack.

Minutes later, heavily armed Nigerian Army personnel moved into the scene to complete the plan.

By the time sounds of their guns died down, dozens of protesters had been killed.

Though Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, blamed ‘forces beyond our control’ for the attack, the Army in a statement later revealed that the soldiers were invited to the scene of protest by the governor.

Also soldiers involved in the operation confirmed they were drafted in for the mission on the request of the governor.

According to Sahara Reporters, the soldiers, who were deployed from 65 Battalion, Bonny Camp, Victoria Island, Lagos, told some victims’ relatives after dumping some of the injured and dead at MRS Hospital that they were sent by Sanwo-Olu.

While the governor insisted that there were only two recorded deaths and no bloodstain at the scene of the protest, military sources told SaharaReporters that no fewer than 30 protesters died as a result of the shooting.

Meanwhile, a human rights advocacy group, Amnesty International, has released a timeline of the Lekki shootings, which it said followed an on-the-ground investigation into the incident.

In the timeline published on Wednesday, the rights groups said it uncovered how soldiers from Bonny Camp opened fire on protesters.

The new timeline of the incident chronicled from how the protest was peaceful, through the firing of gunshots, and up to the statement from Governor Sanwo-Olu that the army was responsible for the shooting.

Amnesty International said its investigation had confirmed that the Nigerian Army and police killed peaceful protesters in Lagos.

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