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#EndSARS: Panel alters medical doctor’s account of Lekki incident

A testimony by Dr. Babajide Lawson, a trauma and orthopaedic surgeon at Reddington Hospital, Lagos on the Lekki incident as quoted in the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry report has been found to be altered in a re-presentation by the panel, PRNigeria reports.

Days after the report found its way to the public domain, it has continued to generate heated debates with more loopholes and irreconcilable submissions coming to bare.

On page 67 of the report, the witness (Dr Lawson) confirmed that there were several people that presented on the 21st with all manner of complaints of body injuries like cuts and bruises/injuries which most of them alleged were sustained at Lekki Toll Gate. He stated that it was not possible to confirm where the injuries occurred at the time. He also stated that some of the patients who presented only required basic dressing of their wounds.

“The witness (Dr Lawson) confirmed that one Amako Francis also presented on 21st October, 2020 with a knife stab wound or a wound from a sharp object, as opposed to a gunshot injury. He also confirmed that the patient was not treated after the 21st of October, 2020.”

The witness also confirmed that a patient named Bright Osarehemen presented on the 22nd of October, 2020 with a gunshot injury of six (6) hours duration after the incident. He explained that the patient was injured on the day of presentation. He indicated that it was unlikely that the instant patient could have been a victim of the incident which occurred at the Lekki toll gate on the 20th of October, 2020.

However, in re-presenting Lawson on page 301 of the same report, the panel said it, “finds that the testimony of Dr. Babajide Lawson of Reddington Hospital as to the nature of treatment offered victims of the Lekki Toll Gate Incident in relation to gunshot wounds which were high velocity ‘entry and exit’, all indicate injuries from military weapons, consistent with the bullet shells recovered by the Panel during its visit and the witnesses that testified before the Panel.”

Meanwhile, in the entire report, there was nowhere Dr. Lawson mentioned ‘military weapons’ or ‘high velocity entry and exit’ to ‘military weapons’ as interpreted by the panel.

Further examination by PRNigeria reveals that the only closely related article to that was a page 64 commentary of what the report said on Dr Lawson’s observation, and it states that, “In response to whether high energy meant high velocity, the witness explained that the term ‘velocity’ was used in the past but it had been modified. He further explained that where the velocity was high, then the firearm was high energy. However, velocity alone did not qualify a firearm, which was why the terminology had been discarded or modified.”

The panel further stated that Dr. Lawson “confirmed that he knew the difference between low, medium and high energy injuries and also agreed that it could be said that the three (3) types of injuries are usually caused by different firearms. That a person shot with a double-barreled shot-gun was an approximation between medium to high energy. He informed the Panel that as a doctor, he did not know what a craft arm was. The witness was then asked the energy level he would categorize a military-grade gun, the witness did not eventually answer the question due to Mr. Fusika’s objection.”

The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses led by a retired judge, Doris Okuwobi has in its report, said at least 46 unarmed protesters were either shot dead, injured with bullets, or assaulted by security forces at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20 last year.

However, the Lagos State Government has said that over 40 discrepancies were found in the report on the shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.

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