Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has described reports that he approved the mass burial of at least 103 #EndSARS protesters as deliberate misinterpretion and sensationalization.
The #EndSARS protesters were ‘massacred’ by joint forces of the Nigerian Army and the police.
The tragedy occurred during the October 20, 2020 protest against police brutality tagged #EndSARS at the Lekki toll gate
According to a letter dated July 19 by the public procurement agency, the state government engaged the service of Messrs Tos Funeral Ltd, a private firm, for a specific task.
The government engaged the firm at the cost of ₦61,285,000 to bury 103 bodies which were identified to be victims of the killings.
The viral letter sparked outrage online with many calling the governor, former President Muhammadu Buhari and former Army chief Turkur Buratai, murderers.
But in a swift reaction in a statement on Sunday, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Olusegun Ogboye spoke on the issue.
“The attention of the Lagos State Government has been drawn to some social media publications about a purported mass burial plan for casualties of the 2020 #EndSARS incident.
“Peddlers of the news are deliberately misinterpreting and sensationalising a letter from the Lagos State Government Public Procurement Agency titled: Letter of No Objection – Mass Burial for the 103, the Year 2020 ENDSARS victims, to misinform the public, stir public sentiment and cause public disaffection against the Lagos State Government.
“It is public knowledge that the year 2020 #EndSARS crisis that snowballed into violence in many parts of Lagos recorded casualties in different areas of the State and NOT from the Lekki Toll Gate as being inferred in the mischievous publications.
“For the records, the Lagos State Environmental Health Unit (SEHMU) 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.
“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.
“Contrary to disingenuous narrative weaved around the recently approved mass burial, the #EndSARs Panel subpoenaed the Lagos State chief pathologist to produce full records of unclaimed bodies of dead deposited with state central morgue during the days immediately preceding and following the event at Lekki tollgate on 20/10/20.
‘The list with their autopsies of provable cause and circumstances of death were duly submitted and testified to before the panel.
“This subpoena was at the request of lawyers who represented #EndSARS protesters and the chief pathologist complied.
Three Years After
“There was not a single finding in the report or ensuing white paper attributing the death of any named citizen listed in the autopsy to the Lekki incident.
“However, after almost three years, the bodies remain unclaimed, adding to the congestion of the morgues.
“This spurred the need to decongest the morgues – a procedure that follows very careful medical and legal guidelines in the event that a relative may still turn up to claim a lost relative years after the incident.
“The Government,therefore, appeals to social media rumour mongers to please allow the hapless families of the unclaimed loved ones a deserved closure.”