Human RightsNews

#EndSARS: Release Lekki CCTV Footage – Experts Say

The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Lekki Toll Plaza incident has begun inquiry into allegations of impunity and human rights violation by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The panel announced on October 15, as part of government effort to meet demands of the #EndSARS protesters, were subsequently expanded to look into the attack on peaceful protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza.

On Tuesday, October 20, soldiers opened fire as protesters demanding for an end to police brutality and police reform waved Nigerian flags and sang the national anthem.

Nnamdi Chife, a security expert, spoke to HumAngle about the tough legitimacy battle facing the state in the aftermath of the incident.

“The state has lost all moral authority to investigate the Lekki shootings. They have no legitimacy in the eyes of the people. Personally, an impartial body outside of the state should conduct the inquiry,” he said.

Chife added: “I doubt there is CCTV footage of that incident but I hope to be proven wrong. In any case, it is very pertinent for the government to release all materials that would aid the investigation, including the CCTV camera.”

Confidence Macharry, a Security Analyst at SBM Intelligence, shared a similar concern. He said before the #EndSARS protest, trust in government and public institutions were at an all-time low.

“The handling of the protests and the blame game that has followed since the massacre has lowered that credibility to point zero so much so that not so many people are interested in the judicial panels of inquiry,” he said.

Macharry added that for accountability and credibility sake, the government must not just release the footage it claimed was in its possession but must ensure justice for the dead.

On October 25, a lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, sent a Freedom of Information request to the Lagos State Government for authenticated Copies of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) records showing the attack on #EndSARS Protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza.

“Sir, I urgently require the CTC of the said instruments and the CCTV records to enable me participate and properly represent victims at the panel.

“It is my considered view that refusal of this innocuous FOI request will undermine your commitment to a credible, honest and transparent investigation into abuses by SARS in Lagos State and the remote and immediate cause(s) of the infamous attack on #EndSARS protesters.

“The eyes of the people of Lagos are watching to see your response to this application,” the lawyer said.

He added: “This harmless application is made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 2011.”

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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