For immediate release, TUESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 2020
THE FATHERLAND GROUP
STATEMENT ON THE LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT’S JUDICIAL PANEL OF INQUIRY INTO THE LEKKI MASSACRE
- On Tuesday 20th October, a number of civilians were massacred by members of the Nigerian armed forces at a peaceful demonstration calling for an end to police brutality, #ENDSARS, at the Lekki Tollgate.
- The incident attracted worldwide condemnation and triggered international demonstrations with calls for the perpetrators to be identified and held to account.
- None of the state actors has yet accepted responsibility for the incident. Instead there has been an orchestrated campaign of denials: the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sano-Olu denied that fatalities had occurred; the Nigerian Army denied that its soldiers were present at the location, let alone being involved in the massacre, and that reports suggesting otherwise were “Fake news”.
- Following an interview with CNN on 26 October, Governor Sanwo-Olu announced the setting up of an 8 member Judicial Panel of Inquiry, led by retired Justice Dorus Okuwobi, to investigate the incident.
The Fatherland Group
- Has serious misgivings over the prospects for this investigation by agents of a State Government into the conduct of institutions which are the exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government.
- Calls for a full public inquiry into the massacre, to be streamed live on social media platforms, as an essential step towards restoring public confidence in public authorities in the wake of this campaign of denial.
- Requires the established procedures relating to the (digital) evidence to be followed to demonstrate that the evidence has not been tampered with.
- Notes that Video evidence should have an audit trail, including a full chain of custody. Such logs must be made available to the Inquiry for independent analysis, to confirm the integrity/authenticity of the evidence. The evidence must not be tampered with by those (custodians) who control the video system infrastructure.
- Specifically calls upon The Lagos State Government to allow independent forensic examination of the systems – network segment (video recording network) and video controller (central server) logs, audit trails of events and metadata of the recordings. Independent examination of these components will inspire confidence that the recording/s has not been tampered with before the tapes/recordings were presented as evidence. Unless this independent forensic examination of the evidence is permitted, members of the public will be well advised to treat the panel’s findings with caution.
- Reminds the public that the recordings have digital footprints which cannot be erased without suspicion being raised. For example, stopping and restarting the systems/servers/network devices may wipe critical data held in the system’s memory (volatile) if an image has not been taken of the system (recording device or tape) beforehand. This ‘restart’ itself will raise concerns.
Fatherland Group is a global network of forward- thinking Nigerians armed with a new understanding of our past, our present and our future.