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#EndSARS Coalition Condemns Planned Mass Burial and Demands Accountability

For Immediate Press Release
July 26, 2023

 

#EndSARS Protesters Reject Lagos State’s Mass Burial of #EndSARS Victims 

“The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government.” Section 14 (2)(b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended). 

 

The Coalition of #EndSARS Protesters and Supporters, national and globally are horrified by the planned mass burial of 103 protesters and civilians who tragically lost their lives in the October 2020 state-sponsored violence and murder at the Lekki Toll Gate, and the callous and insincere statement by the Lagos State Government in response to the leaked memo approving the contract for the mass burial. 

The Babajide Sanwo-olu led Lagos State Government continues to disinform the global community in an attempt to manipulate public perception and evade justice and accountability. Between October 21-23, 2020, Mr Sanwo-olu had contradicted himself thrice, first, he said, “Nobody died at Lekki Toll Gate”; next day, “One person died and it was from blunt trauma to the head”; and on the 3rd day, he said, “Two deaths have now been confirmed among the protesters in Lekki.” 

#EndSARS protesters and investigative journalists are convinced that many people died at Lekki Toll Gate. The report of the Judicial Panel set up by Mr Sanwo-Olu, established there was a massacre at Lekki Toll Gate, and pages 297 & 298 of the report (copy attached) clearly name nine people that were killed,1 with four more missing, but presumed dead.2 Therefore, to state that no one died at Lekki Toll Gate or only two persons were confirmed is a wicked and brazen lie. 

In addition, the panel found that the Lagos State Government, the Nigerian Military and the Police were culpable in the massacre of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate. The report noted that the military and the police shot at peaceful protesters on October 20, 2020 at the Lekki Toll Gate. The military, on the invitation of the Lagos State Governor, Mr Sanwo-Olu, took away the bodies and corpses of the dead protesters in their vans, in an attempt to cover up and clean up the crime scene. 

Despite its own findings, the Lagos State Government continues to shamelessly try to divert attention from the undeniable evidence, which includes the FIJ and CNN reports, that innocent citizens were killed by security forces during the #EndSARS protests. The government portrayed these citizens as “unscrupulous elements,” dismissing the leaked memo as the work of “mischief makers”, thereby exacerbating the pain and suffering endured by the families of the victims as well as citizens, whose crime was to protest against injustice and for a better quality of life. 

It is important to remind the global community that the #EndSARS protests were a plea for justice, an end to police brutality, a review of the welfare package for law enforcement officers and accountability for the actions of renegade officers. This was clearly articulated in the #5for5 Demands that were accepted by the federal and Lagos State governments. Not only were peaceful protesters killed at the Lekki Toll Gate, they were also murdered statewide – over 100 protesters and non-protesters alike! The government’s attempt to downplay the magnitude of the casualties is a disservice to the memory of those who lost their lives and the pain endured by their families. They are not nameless. Lagos State says some of the 103 people are from a jailbreak at Ikoyi Prison – even if you don’t know the names of the others, how can inmates be nameless? They were sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and friends. Each life lost had dreams, aspirations, and loved ones left behind. 

We advise TOS Funeral Services to be careful not to get involved in an attempt to cover-up murder. There must be dignified burials for these victims, which must not happen until family members have the opportunity to identify their loved ones. Since 2020, the Lagos State government has tried unsuccessfully to cover up its tracks. The government must stop using deceitful tactics and face the reality that their actions led to the death of defenseless Nigerians. We must all be very concerned about this government’s continued lack of empathy and conscience in addressing this important issue, as it is deeply distressing that the government chooses to continue to evade responsibility for the atrocities committed against peaceful protesters, but engages in a blame game, instead of addressing the grievances of the affected families and the public. 

Given the current climate and disaffection amongst youths and Nigerians generally; the high cost of living, occasioned by the fuel price increase among others, and in order to ignite much needed peaceful protests, we make the following demands to the Lagos State government to appeal to the conscience of the public: 

  1. Suspend the planed mass burial of 103 bodies in TOS Funeral Services immediately.
  2. Implement the recommendations of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry’s White Paper.
  3. Establish a one-month notice for citizens to access the 103 bodies, in the hopes of identifying their loved ones. 
  4. Conduct a DNA mapping of all 103 bodies using a reputable private organisation.
  5. Pay compensation and provide therapy for the trauma they have caused families over the last 3 years. 

As #EndSARS protesters worldwide, we will not be silenced or deterred by the government’s failed attempts to discredit our actions. We will not rest and will continue to peacefully protest until justice prevails. As we mourn the innocent lives lost during the #EndSARS protests, we call on Lagos residents, and people of conscience to stand in solidarity with these victims and join us in demanding justice and accountability for the innocent lives lost during the #EndSARS protests. Together, we will ensure that the sacrifices of those who lost their lives during the #EndSARS protests will not be in vain. 

Signed: 

#EndSARS Frontliners 

#EndSARS 


1 Kolade Salami, Folorunsho Olabisi, Victor Sunday Ibanga, Abouta Solomon, Jide, Olalekan Abideen Ashafa, Olamilekan Ajasa, Kenechukwu Ugoh, Nathaniel Solomon

2 Ifeanyi Nicholas Eji, Tola, Wisdom, and Abiodun. 

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