The lekki toll gate incident that occurred on the 20th of October 2020 is one that still burns in the hearts of many months after the event occurred. It is fair to say many have not and would probably never be able to move on from the events of that day until a full inquest is done and completed with the truth of the full findings from the investigation published and the requisite action taken.
For many, it was more than just another sad occurrence but a blatant disregard for the binding laws of the land as well as trampling on the rights of the young citizens who are the future of any nation and a show of shame that brought the preying eyes of the rest of the world on us. For a country that has struggled under the weight of bad publicity, this was never the way to go.
Interesting to note in the aftermath of the carnage that happened was the reaction of the government to the fateful event of that day.
First of all, came the presidential address by the president. In all honesty, not many persons expected much based on the preceding “style” of the president but at least we hoped to hear a heartfelt reaction from the president but instead what came was a deliberate omission of the particular event that occurred at the lekki toll gate as well as a thinly veiled but strong warning to the youths.
He rather chose to extol his government and justify his government and even went as far as aiming a sly dig at past governments. No mention of any investigation to be carried out but an outright omission as though it never happened.
The army as well was quick to speak out in a bid to exonerate themselves by branding the several reports and video evidence of the military being at the scene as fake saying that “no soldiers were at the scene.” This was a statement they came out contradict by later admitting that soldiers were deployed on orders from the Lagos state government as a result of violence which led to several police stations being burnt, policemen killed, suspects in custody released and weapons carted away.”
The Lagos state government is implicated in the matter and came out to speak with the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu stating that “no governor controls the rules of engagement of the army” hence the unanswered question; WHO GAVE THE ARMY THE ORDERS?
Different state governors were quick to set up judicial panels but in particular, concern was the announcement by The Lagos State Governor that the judicial panel set up by the state would include the incident at Lekki toll gate with Mr. President stating that the Lagos state judicial panel had his full support.
3 months after the setting up and inauguration of the panel, we are yet to get anywhere near the completion of the investigation going on.
On the 5th of January, 2021, the head of the judicial panel mentioned the need for forensic evidence admitting that the “forensic analysis will clear a lot from evidence admitted in the cause of investigation.”
The question is why is this just being mentioned? Is forensic evidence going to be gathered from the site of the incident 3 months after the incident occurred? After cleaning has been carried out at the place of occurrence? After rain and other weather, elements have had their due course? Was the site of the occurrence cordoned off after the incident?
Whatever it may be, there are damning questions that need to be answered; why were the cameras turned off? The Managing Director of the Lekki Concession Company in charge of the toll gate mentioned that a network problem caused the cameras to stop working but why was it on that fateful day? Was there scheduled maintenance? Had it happened before? Many more questions remain and all the nation cries out for is that justice prevails.
No matter how long it seems to extend; the Lagos judicial panel is expected to sit for 6 months, what we want to see is that justice prevails and is served in due course.