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Dele Farotimi: Lagos #EndSARS Panel Unequivocal There Was A Massacre At Lekki Tollgate

“Even in burying the evidence of your complacencies, you have to still inflate the cost of their burials,” he said.

Human rights lawyer Dele Farotimi has condemned the move of the Lagos State government to conduct a mass burial for the one hundred and three Endsars massacre.

Farotimi, who was in an interview on ARISE NEWS on Monday faulted the government for not only lying to the citizens for almost three years, but also for now bringing back memories that people are trying to forget.

He said “I refuse to help them normalize the lies they are telling. But to even now deal with something that people are already forgetting, not only have you denied the humanity of these persons by denying that they were killed, a hundred and three persons are going to be given mass burials.

“Beyond the what they will want us to focus on, it is critical that we look at the document itself. You want to bury a hundred and three human beings whose humanity you have denied, but you have voted sixty-one million naira. That means you are telling us that you are burying each one of them for five hundred naira. Even in burying the evidence of your complacencies, you have to still inflate the cost of their burials. They mean nothing.

“The panel set up by the government itself was unequivocal in accepting that there was a massacre.”

He called on the Nigerian society to embrace truth and to speak out the truth in order to prevent matters like this from arising in the future.

The truth is that the Nigerian society, we are far removed from truth. But we will get there one day. It is incumbent on those who know the truth to refuse to be silenced. They have to speak that truth. Whatever the case might be, you only normalize evil when you keep quiet. 

“Those who helped them to clean up the tollgate that morning, are as guilty as those who pulled the trigger. Those in the Lagos state hospital, management board and the mortuary who processed the dead, removing bullets, they are as guilty as these who are covering up the murder.”

On Sunday, a letter indicating that the Lagos state government has approved the sum of N61,285,000 for the “mass burial” of 103 people who died during the 2020 #EndSARS protests in the state, went viral on social media.

“Following review of your request and based on the information provided therein, the agency had “no objection” to the award of contract to Messrs TOS Funeral Limited at a total cost of N61,285,000 (sixty-one million, two hundred and eighty-five thousand naira) only for the mass burial for the 103, the year of 2020 EndSARS victims,” the letter reads.

The leaked letter elicited varied reactions on social media.

In the statement, the Lagos government confirmed the move to conduct a “mass burial” for 103 bodies recovered during the protest, saying that the bodies have remained unclaimed almost three years later.

The state government said the corpses were retrieved from many parts of the state, including Fagba, Ketu, Ikorodu, Orile, Ajegunle, Abule-Egba, Ikeja, Ojota, Ekoro, Ogba, Isolo and Ajah.

The state government added that one of the cases of violent attacks that happened during the #EndSARS protest was the jailbreak at Ikoyi prison.

 “For the records, the Lagos State Environmental Health Unit picked up bodies in the aftermath of #EndSARS violence and community clashes at Fagba, Ketu, Ikorodu, Orile, Ajegunle, Abule-Egba, Ikeja, Ojota, Ekoro, Ogba, Isolo and Ajah areas of Lagos state,” the statement reads.

“There was also a jailbreak at Ikoyi Prison. The 103 casualties mentioned in the document were from these incidents and NOT from Lekki Toll-gate as being alleged. For the avoidance of doubt, no body was retrieved from the Lekki toll gate incident.

Chioma Kalu 

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