Lead counsel to Endsars petitioners, Adeshina Ogunlana, has faulted the position of the Lagos state government in the leaked memo approving the mass burial of 103 EndSARS victims.
On Sunday, a leaked memo addressed to the Lagos State Ministry of Health indicating that the State Government approved N61,285,000 for the mass burial of 103 persons identified as 2020 EndSARS victims went viral on social media and sparked outrage.
The Lagos State Government, however, responded to the leaked memo and maintained that the victims to be buried are not from the controversial Lekki Tollgate shooting.
Reacting to the development on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, Ogunlana said the Lagos State Government is being clever by half.
“Government is being clever by half and they are not telling the absolute truth. Yes, I agree with the position that the 103 bodies were said, not all of them were picked up from Lekki toll gate and its environs.
“To use the word the pathologist used at the panel, that is professor Obafunwa, he said bodies were scavenged, and corpses were picked from different places. But around the area of Lekki Toll Gate, they were corpses too, some of them were dumped at the General Hospital, Lagos Island and all that.
He further condemned the government for saying that there were no named citizens from the Lekki Toll Gate, arguing that the 103 about to be buried by the government have no names as well.
“For the government now to be saying oh no there is no named citizen, the question I want to ask them is this, even the 103 corpses that they want to dispose of, do they have any names? There was no name.
“The bodies that were taken around the environment of Lekki toll gate when Baba Fafunwa was speaking, he at least identified three that were perforated with missiles,” he said.
The legal practitioner, however, corrected the impression from some quarters that all 103 bodies were from the Lekki Toll Gate, saying that is also not correct.
“People saying that the 103 is proof that actually 103 people were killed at the Lekki toll gate is a very grave error and I will not join anybody saying that.
“But to say that there was no body recovered in the environs of the Lekki toll gate incident of 2020 is completely wrong,” he said.
Ogunlana asserted that government was attempting to “profit from the cruel loss of lives” by approving as much as over N60 million for the mass burial.
“Even now the system of government that we have in Lagos State and by extension Nigeria is showing that they want to profit by cruel loss of lives.
“How could you say that you have approved N61 million to bury 103 degraded bodies in a mass grave? People that are unidentified, people that nobody came up to claim and all that, I mean that is horrendous,” Ogunlana lamented.
There has been controversy over the number of deaths recorded during the EndSARS protest, resulting in the governor setting up an inquest led by Justice Doris Okuwobi.
Since the protest in 2020, both the Lagos Government and the Federal Government have consistently denied any mass killing during the EndSARS protests.
The memo is coming over two years after the widespread protest across the country. The Lagos Government has yet to comment on the leaked memo.
Thousands of Nigerians across the country took to the streets to protest police brutality and called for far-reaching reforms, particularly with regard to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police.
The weeks-long protests, which gained international attention, culminated in the controversial shooting of protesters at the popular Lekki Tollgate in Lagos, one of the rallying points for those who partook in the demonstrations.