The Lagos State judicial panel on restitution for victims of SARS related abuses and other matters sitting in Lagos was today Saturday 19th June, 2021 confronted with the inconsistency in the testimony of a Lekki EndSARS protester.
In his testimony in the petition of Nnatah Stanley Chimezie & others vs the Nigeria police force, the witness and one of the petitioners Damilola Adedayo who claimed to be a bouncer by profession and was engaged as one at the Lekki tollgate EndSARS protest ground, recounted how the military stormed the Lekki tollgate plaza protest ground on the 20th October 2020 at about 6pm and shot into the air and into the crowd of protesters, wounding and killing some in the process.
He claimed that the soldiers came from the Oriental hotels and sandfield axis of the Lekki Epe expressway and were shooting sporadically in which some of the protesters were hit even as they obeyed the directives of their leaders to sit on the ground and wave the national flag. He claimed to have assisted in carrying some of the injured protesters into the army truck because of the delay in the arrival of the ambulance needed to convey victims to the hospital.
He further asserted in his evidence in chief that after the military had left, that policemen from Maroko police station some wearing white and others wearing black police uniform came to the protest ground and shot directly at protesters, killing and injuring some in the process. He said the policemen pursued the protesters and were firing at them and for fear for his own life, he fled and hid inside a gutter on the 20th October 2020 till day break on the 21st October 2020 when he summoned the courage to come out of hiding when he saw some other protesters gather and the media interviewing them on what happened the evening before.
The witness stated that because he was disallowed by policemen from accessing sandfield to take a ferry on the 21st of October 2020, he and others then decided to go and take ferry to the mainland at Lekki phase 1, but as they approached the Lekki roundabout, they were confronted by policemen who pursued and fired at them and they all fled though one of them was shot dead. He said that as he was running, a bullet hit him in the right ankle and he fell, but someone came to his rescue and with the assistance of others conveyed him to Reddington hospital Lekki, where it was discovered that the bullet pierced through his ankle after the examination by the doctor, but was not admitted due to lack of bed space and was referred and conveyed in an ambulance to Victoria Island Consultancy and Hospital Services limited where he was admitted from Wednesday 21st October 2020 to Sunday 25th October, 2020. That while he was in the hospital within those five days, X-ray could not be carried out on the leg because the medical personnel to conduct it, was unavailable till he was discharged on the 25th of October, 2020.
The witness then tendered his medical report for X-ray from Victoria Island Consultancy and Hospital Services limited and the X-ray film which were admitted and marked as exhibit.
In cross examining the witness/petitioner, the Lagos State counsel A.J. Owonikoko (SAN) called for exhibit 4B of the witness which was already in evidence before the panel as exhibit.
The counsel then read a paragraph of the medical report of the witness/petitioner by Reddington hospital Lekki, where it was stated that the witness/petitioner was alledgedly shot at the Lekki tollgate plaza on the 20th of October 2020 and asked him if he was shot at the Lekki tollgate plaza on the 20th of October 2020. The witness denied being shot at the Lekki tollgate plaza on the 20th of October 2020, and maintained that he was shot by policemen at Lekki roundabout.
The counsel also read a paragraph of the Reddington hospital Lekki medical report of the witness petitioner where he stated that he was shot by men dressed in military gear on the 20th of October 2020 at Lekki tollgate plaza. The witness denied and restated that he was shot at Lekki roundabout on the 21st October 2020 by policemen.
The counsel again asked the witness/petitioner to reconcile his statement that he was on admission from Wednesday 21st October to Sunday 25th October 2020 at Victoria Island Consultancy and Hospital Services limited where X-ray could not be conducted on his leg because the medical expert was unavailable till his discharge with the date of Friday 23rd October 2020 on his X-ray film from an hospital in Aguda Surulere when he was still on admission at the Victoria Island hospital. The witness confirmed the date of the Aguda Surulere hospital X-ray on his leg as 23rd of October 2020, but couldn’t reconcile it with his oral evidence in chief of being on admission at a Victoria Island hospital from the 21st October to 25th October 2020 when no x-ray was conducted on his leg.
The Lagos State counsel also read the Reddington hospital Lekki medical report of the witness/petitioner wherein it was stated that he was conveyed and transferred via ambulance from Reddington hospital Lekki to General hospital Lagos Island. The witness/petitioner denied that he was transferred from Reddington hospital to General hospital Lagos Island, he claimed he was not the one.
The petitioner counsel applied for a witness summons on the medical director of Victoria Island Consultancy and Hospital Services limited which was granted and the petition was adjourned to 26th June, 2021.
The panel sitting continues next week.