We Conducted Autopsies On 99 Bodies Including Lekki Tollgate Victims

Professor John Obafunwa, a forensic pathologist, has told the Lagos State Judicial Panel on restitution for victims of SARS related abuses and other matters, that post mortem autopsies were conducted on 99 bodies after the #EndSARS protests.

In October, aggrieved protesters trooped to the streets across the country to demand an end to police brutality.

The government had disbanded SARS and promised to look into their demands but the protesters refused to back down until they were forcefully dispersed on October 20, 2020.

Soldiers had stormed the Lekki tollgate in Lagos, where the protesters had barricaded for close to three weeks, and forced them off the roads.

There were allegations and counter allegations on the number of persons killed during the incident but the military authorities and the Federal Government denied that there were deaths.

While dismissing reports on the Lekki tollgate shootings, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, had taunted government critics by describing the Lekki incident as a massacre without dead bodies.

But while testifying before the panel on Saturday, the pathologist said officers of the Lagos State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit (LASEHMU) picked up 99 bodies from different locations.

He confirmed that three of the bodies were those of victims of the Lekki shootings.

According to him, the first body of an unknown victim was brought in from Lekki bridge, on October 24.

He said the body showed a fracture, a laceration on the left side of the skull.

The pathologist gave the cause of death as bleeding into the chest cavity, following a blunt force trauma to the chest.

He added that the second body was that of an unidentified individual who died at about 1.45am on October 21 and was taken to Reddington Hospital, Lekki.

He said the victim was taken to the hospital in an unconscious state as a result of open skull fracture.

“X-ray conducted prior to touching the body showed no bullet or pellets in the body. The x-ray revealed multiple skull fracture. Autopsy showed there was a ragged laceration running from the left side to the right side of the skull, further exploration of the wound showed bleeding into the scalp, multiple fracture of the skull, bleeding into the brain tissue. In the chest, there was bruises of the anterior, fracture of the left rib.

“Generally the internal organs were pale and it suggested there was severe blood loss. Hypertensive heart disease, upon examination under the microscope and samples for DNA, death was as a result of skull and brain injury which was due to blunt force trauma.”

The third case was said to have died at Lekki tollgate and taken to the General Hospital, Yaba, where an autopsy was conducted on November 2.

The cause of death was said to be severe blood loss as a result of disruption of major blood vessel, caused as a result of gun shot injury.

The panel, which adjourned till June 19, ordered the pathologist to produce the records and autopsy reports of the remaining 96 bodies.

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