According to the State Government, Soldiers “intervened” during the protests in October 2020 in a move to assist civil authorities in restoring peace and order in the state.
This was stated by the Babajide-Sanwo-Olu administration in its White Paper on the report of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters, which investigated the state’s EndSARS administration last year.
The Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel recommended that the “Nigeria (sic) Army be discouraged from engaging in internal security.”
The state government stated in their response:
“Lagos State Government observes that Section 217(2) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) states that the Armed Forces may “intervene to suppress insurrection and also to assist civil authorities to restore lawful order” which had clearly broken down in Lagos between 19th – 21st October 2020. See evidence of Brig. Gen. A.I. Taiwo on page 35, Mr. Muri-Okunola (Head of Service) on pages 120-126 and ACP. Oludotun Odubona on pages 219 223). Such intervention must however be with clear rules of engagement.”
The government also dismissed the panel’s findings that nine people were murdered by gunshots on October 20, 2020, at the Lekki toll gate.
The panel named 48 people as casualties, including 22 protesters who were shot, and 15 others who were attacked by military and police as they stormed the Lekki toll gate to disperse the young demonstrators.
It had stated;
“The atrocious maiming and killing of unarmed, helpless and unresisting protesters, while sitting on the floor and waving their Nigerian flags and while singing the National Anthem can be equated to a ‘massacre’ in context.”
In November 15, 2021, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu received the panel’s findings and stated that the White Paper will be released in two weeks, which elapsed on November 29, 2021.
The state government accepted 11 of the 32 recommendations made by the judicial panel of inquiry, rejected one, and accepted six with modifications in the White Paper released on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, while 14 recommendations fall outside the powers of the Lagos State Government and will be forwarded to the Federal Government for consideration.