A judicial panel of inquiry commissioned by the Nigerian government to investigate deaths from deaths at the Lekki-Epe Expressway toll gate opened hearings on Monday. Of the 58 victims of a shooting on the road in December, 40 people were men between 20 and 30 years old and 18 were women between 14 and 30 years old.
At the hearing, the three-member panel said the toll gate was “a killing field.”
At the hearing, the panel of inquiry that has been tasked with recording the facts surrounding a shooting at the Lekki-Epe toll gate made an emotional declaration when they said the deaths of Nigerians that took place that day “were a massacre.” https://t.co/6XjEMxxkJ7 — This Week Nigeria (@ThisWeekNigeria) February 18, 2019
The commission’s panel chair, who is the chief justice of Nigeria, Mahmoud Yakubu, delivered the remarks following cross-examination of witnesses including the toll gate driver, Yusuf Yakubu. Four other Nigerians have been charged with offences in relation to the incident. In statement, the lawyer for Yusuf Yakubu insisted he had no malicious intent in that the person responsible for the deaths that took place was a “self-indulgent” driver of a light truck, alongside others who were, his client said, “fanatics” who threatened his life. The lawyer said they were all Nigerians who had died “for want of jobs.”
The toll gate opened in 2017 after a huge opening ceremony with the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, in attendance. However, since then a police checkpoint along the toll gate has prevented regular traffic, according to The Guardian.
The hearing is believed to be the first time in Nigeria’s recent history that the findings of a judicial commission of inquiry have been put to public scrutiny. Under the Nigerian constitution, such commissions have the power to “review and confirm actions of public officers, investigate complaints of public officers, make recommendations for prevention, cure and cure of public officers, and hear complaints about customs, money laundering, and corruption.”
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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