Malami: It Is Premature To Conclude Soldiers Used Live Ammunition At Lekki Toll
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Wednesday, said it is premature for anyone to conclude that the men of the Nigerian Army used live ammunition on harmless protesters at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020. He spoke during a Channels Television’s current affairs programme, ‘Politics Today’ monitored by The PUNCH.
The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters which probed the EndSARS protests in the state last year recently submitted its findings to the state government, saying nine protesters died by gunshot wounds when soldiers stormed Lekki toll gate in October 20, 2020. The Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel 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 Lagos State Government, in its White Paper on the panel’s report, on Tuesday, however, rejected the casualty figure, saying only one person died. Ballistic experts had also said in their testimonies before the panel during the one-year sitting that live bullets were fired at the protesters on the night of October 20, 2020 but Malami said on Wednesday that it is premature for anyone to make such a conclusion.
Asked by the presenter of the programme on Wednesday whether it was right for the military to fire live ammunition at peaceful protesters, Malami said, “You are jumping to a conclusion that live ammunition were indeed used during the EndSARS protest. Whether the report says so or it doesn’t say so, as far as I am concerned, I am not in a position to ascertain that. “Within the context of the White Paper, we have criminal investigation that must follow for the purpose of criminal prosecution where the need arises.