After years of cover-ups, denials, Sanwo-Olu plans mass burial for 103 protesters massacred during EndSARS
In what appears to be a validation the assertions of many on the account of what truly happened on that morbid night of 20 October 2020, the Lagos state government has ratified the mass burial of at least 103 protesters.
Recall that a joint forces of the Nigerian Army and the police had stormed the Lekki tollgate that night and opened fire on the protesters during the October 2020 mass public demonstration against police brutality tagged #EndSARS
The state government engaged the service of Messrs Tos Funeral Ltd, a private firm, at the cost of N61,285,000 to bury 103 bodies which were identified to be victims of the killings, according to letter seen by Within Nigeria and dated July 19 by the public procurement agency
“Following review of your request and based on the information provided therein, the agency has “No Objection” to the award of contract to MESSRS TOS FUNERALS LIMITED at a total cost of N61,285,000 (Sixty-one million, two hundred and eighty-five thousand Naira only) for the mass burial for the 103, the year 2020 Endsars victims,” the letter read.
For months on end after the incident, the Lagos state government — through media blackout, suppression of valuable information and use of security agents to hound and threaten major voices of the protest and those who managed to survive the carnage — has concealed the severity of what actually happened.
Sanwo-Olu and his cohorts in government have categorically denied and shut down claims of the brutal killing of unarmed protesters who were waving the Nigerian flag and singing the national anthem when the military rained live bullets on them.
The move also comes after a call for identification of missing persons by the Lagos state government was ignored due to several reports of intimidation and harassment, which was meted out to individuals who appeared before the panel of inquiry to make claims that indicted the government.
Sanwo-Olu had issued a white paper that exonerated him from the findings of the Lagos State’s judicial panel of inquiry, which described the incident as a massacre. The judicial panel had averred that the use of heart-rending brute force war-like violence on hapless and peaceful protesters which led to the death of many was unjustifiable.
The judicial panel affirmed that the casualty of the incident was aggravated because the army refused to allow ambulances and medical help to get to injured protesters who were in need of them. The panel also added that the army stole the corpse of the protesters and wiped blood stains off the scene to hide evidence of its crime and hinder the investigation of the panel.
Chief pathologist of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Professor John Obafunwa, testified before the panel of inquiry that at least 99 bodies were deposited in morgues across Lagos from the EndSars protests, with several of them carrying bullet wounds, some blunt trauma, and some bruises. Of these 99 bodies that were confirmed to be that of protesters, three were successfully traced to have been brought in from the toll gate.
A video investigation published by CNN also corroborated several videos that were taken during the incident and confirmed that the men of the Nigerian Army and police indeed shot directly at protesters using live bullets. Sanwo-Olu has asked citizens to “snap out of the incident,” and build back better but families who lost their loved ones in the incident struggle to find closure in the face of the government’s suppression of the truth.