Thursday, December 9, 2021

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#EndSARS: ‘Military-grade ammunition fired at protesters in Lekki’ – UK consultant

The forensic and ballistic company hired by the Lagos State government to investigate the shooting incident that occurred during the #EndSARS protest at the Lekki Toll Gate has submitted a report that live bullets were fired at protesters on the night of October 20, 2020.

The UK-based company, Oxygene Consulting UK Ltd, represented by Mr Dieye Willie-Harry, its executive director and senior consultant, revealed this in the report of the team via Zoom on Tuesday, Premium Times reports.

“We have not viewed any footage, which definitively shows a muzzle aimed towards any individual and at the same time being fired with the effect thereof, with what we can freely assess to be firing live ammunition (no flailing or falling injured victims),” Willie-Harry said.

“However, given the injuries sustained from 21:00 hrs and further, we believe, that live, military-grade ammunition, was fired at some point, by persons as yet to be identified.”

According to Willie-Harry, the team was engaged by the government 10 days after the shooting incident to conduct medical, ballistic, and forensic injury analysis of the incident.

He said by the time the team of experts arrived in Lagos last December, “the medical treatment of victims had reached an advanced stage, injuries had healed and victims had been discharged from healthcare centers.

“The ability of the victims to give reliable accounts of how, when and where, their respective injuries were sustained, may have deteriorated, or been contaminated by exterior influences and the passage of time,” he said.

Willie-Harry, a UK-based Nigerian, is a military operation analyst, forensic investigator, kidnap and ransom negotiator, trained paramedic, and surveillance officer.

Giving the forensic and ballistic report of the team, he said his team probed medical reports and x-rays of the victims who were treated at public and private hospitals in Lagos.

The forensic investigator further said the medical data studied included the timeline of arrival at medical facilities and the nature of the injuries sustained by the victims brought to the facilities.

He said their investigation revealed there was “no military-grade live ammunition (high-velocity) fired at the protesters, at Lekki Toll Gate, on 20 October, last year within the timeframe of 6:30 p.m to 8:34 p.m.”

He added that the military-grade ammunition was used later, after 9 p.m.

The Nigerian Army earlier told the panel that although soldiers were deployed to the Lekki Toll Gate axis, the soldiers fired only blank ammunition into the air to disperse the protesters.

Amidst several reports of deaths and injuries, allegedly resulting from gunshots supposedly fired by soldiers of the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Army later said it went to Lekki Toll Gate with both live and blank ammunition.

Doris Okuwobi, a retired judge heading the panel, said the expert’s testimony would be the last the panel would take before giving its ruling on the shooting incident at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20 last year.

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