Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, says the government will release its White Paper on the report submitted by the EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry.
The governor in a speech on Tuesday on the Lekki shootings of October 20, 2020, said, “As an administration, are determined that the next steps that will be taken in this process of coming to terms with the events of October 2020, must bring closure to a painful episode in the history of our state, with the release of the White Paper later today.”
A White Paper is an administrative medium for conveying the decision or position of the government on the report of an administrative or judicial enquiry.
Following the controversy that trailed the shootings of protesters on October 20, 2020, Sanwo-Olu had inaugurated the judicial panel to uncover the truth and the liars about the incident.
After one year of taking testimonies, receiving evidence, and awarding compensations, the eight-man Lagos EndSARS panel submitted a 309-page report on Monday, November 15, 2021, with shocking revelations which indicted members of the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force.
In a leaked report, the Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel, which has been hugely vilified and blackmailed in the last 14 days, described the Lekki tollgate incident as a massacre in context, claiming that at least nine persons were killed by security agents when they stormed the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020, to disperse the defiant youths protesting against police brutality and extrajudicial killings.
The panel listed 48 names as casualties out of which 22 protesters sustained gunshot injuries, while 15 others were assaulted by soldiers and the police.
It listed the names of the deceased as Victor Sunday Ibanga, Abuta Solomon, Jide, Olalekan Abideen Ashafa, Olamilekan Ajasa, Kolade Salami, Folorunsho Olabisi, Kenechukwu Ugoh and Nathaniel Solomon. The report also listed Abiodun Adesanya, Ifeanyi Nicholas Eji, Tola, and Wisdom as “presumed dead.”
It stated, “The atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless and unresisting protesters while sitting on the floor and waving their Nigerian flags and while singing the National Anthem can be equated to a ‘massacre’ in context.”
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on November 18, 2021, had told United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who was recently on an official visit to Nigeria that the Federal Government was waiting on Lagos State and other state governments to come up with their conclusions.
However, days later, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; rubbished the Lagos panel as illegal and its findings as “tales by moonlight”.
But speaking on Tuesday, Sanwo-Olu said his administration has “sincere commitment to uncovering the truth” about the Lekki shootings of October 20, 2020, adding that “no member of the panel can claim that the state government made any attempt to influence them in any way throughout the duration of its sitting.”
“While I commend the panel for undertaking its task to the best of its abilities, it is however regrettable that the panel’s work and the leakage of an unauthorized version of the report have generated much tension. Sadly, a deep wound has been reopened.
“The heated exchanges among various shades of opinion on the report have unfortunately put us all at the risk of missing the larger picture; the fact that what we all seek in common is a land in which we are all safe and secure, law enforcement agents are trusted, and justice is guaranteed for all.
“As I have stated earlier, we have no intention to engage in histrionics or further inflame passion on a matter that has generated intense interest and controversy nationally and internationally. Our decisions and actions will be based entirely on the law, the weight of evidence, and an unblemished respect for the truth,” the governor added.
He also invited some known faces of the EndSARS protest to a peace walk for “the healing of Lagos”.
Specifically, the governor invited Folarin Falana (Falz), Debo Adebayo (Mr. Marcaroni), Dele Farotimi, Temitope Majekodunmi, Segun Awosanya (Segalinks), Adedotun (Just Detoun), Seun Kuti, Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, and Commander of Rapid Response Squad (RRS), CSP Yinka Egbeyemi and others to join him in the “historic march for our dear Lagos.”