Legal Nigeria

Lekki shootings: Forensic investigation didn’t indict army, says expert

By Robert Egbe

The forensic firm engaged by the Lagos State government to conduct a crime scene investigation of the alleged shooting of protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza on October 20, 2020 has denied indicting the Nigerian Army.

Sentinel Forensics Ltd said it never implicated the army in its report presented at the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Related Abuses and other matters.

It said online news reports and social media posts making such claims since last Friday were “biased and unbalanced” as well as “false and fake news.”

Sentinel Forensics observed in a statement that the fake news was spun off the testimony of its expert at the panel last Friday.

The statement said: ‘’News making the rounds on the internet and social media platforms suggests that Sentinel Forensic Limited findings implicate and indict the Nigerian Army in the shooting of peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll plaza on October 20th 2020.

“This biased and unbalanced reporting, this is false and fake news.

“Our forensic specialist commented that following an extensive scene investigation at the Lekki Toll Plaza, TP, by our team of specialist about 87 days after the incidence, there was an absence of any physical evidence supporting the allegations of discharge of live ammunition by Nigerian Army personnel.

“This scene investigation was conducted days after Sentinel Forensics Ltd was engaged by the Judicial Panel of inquiry

“With respect to the ballistic evidence presented to Sentinel Forensics Ltd for forensic examination by the Judicial Panel, our specialist indicated that two cartridge casings, from expended and fired, of 7.62 x 39mm ammunition was tendered by the Judicial Panel as evidence recovered at the scene, while one unit of live, unexpended, not fired, ammunition and one unit of cartridge case, expended, fired round,7.62 x 33mm ammunition was tendered by the Nigerian Army

“The Nigerian Army also tendered one unit of blank, unexpended, not fired, 7.62 ×51mm ammunition and one unit of blank expended, fired round,7.62 x 51mm ammunition.”

The firm noted that its specialist mentioned amongst other things that the live ammunition tendered as exhibit by the Army was of the same type of cartridge and calibre as the ammunition casings tendered by the Judicial Panel which is 7.62 x 39mm, while the blank ammunition tendered was of a different cartridge type 7.62mm x 54mm.

The company noted that its specialist testified in accordance with standard operating protocol in forensics and crime scene investigation which relies on analysis of physical evidence backed by empirical scientific procedures to draw objective conclusions and inferences and not here say or sensationalism.

The company categorically stated that section six above does not in any way, manner or form indict or absolve any of the parties currently before the Judicial Panel as it sits to determine what occurred at Lekki Toll Plaza on October 20th 2020 in line with best practice and principles of fairness.

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