Lagos Judicial Panel On Lekki Shooting: Forensic Firm Clears Air On Testimony, Debunks Media Report

Contrary to an online news reporting and social media posts currently making rounds relating to expert witness testimony delivered on September 10, 2021 before the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, related abuses and other matters, the management of Sentinel Forensic Limited, has described the report as “false.”

Sentinel, is a forensic firm engaged by the Lagos State government to conduct a crime scene investigation of the alleged shooting of protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza on October 20, 2020.

The firm denied indicting the Nigerian Army at the Lagos State Judicial Panel.

In a statement released the management of the forensic firm at the weekend, read in part: “├ľur attention has been drawn to news making rounds on the internet and social media platforms suggests that our findings implicate and indict the Nigerian Army in the shooting of peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll plaza on October 20, 2020. This biased and unbalanced reporting is false and fake news.

“Our forensic specialist commented that following an extensive scene investigation at the Lekk! Toll Plaza (TP) by our team of specialist about 87 days after the incidence there was an absence of any physical evidence supporting the allegations of discharge of live ammunition by Nigerian Army personnel. This scene investigation was conducted days after Sentinel Forensics Ltd was engaged by the Judicial Panel of inquiry.

“With respect to the ballistic evidence presented to Sentinel Forensics Limited for forensic examination by the Judicial Panel our specialist indicated that two cartridge casings (from expended/fired) of 7 62 x 39mm ammunition was tendered by the Judicial Panel as evidence recovered at the scene, while one unit of live (unexpended/not fired) ammunition and one unit of cartridge case {expended/fired round) 7.62 x 33mm ammunition was tendered by the Nigerian Army.

"The Nigerian Army also tendered one unit of blank (unexpended/not fired) 7.62 ×51mm ammunition and one unit of blank expended/fired round) 7.62 x 51mm ammunition.

“Our specialist mentioned among other things that the live ammunition tendered as exhibit by the Nigerian Army was the same type of cartridge and calibre as the ammunition casings tendered by the Judicial Panel which is 7.62 x 39mm, while the blank ammunition tendered was of a different cartridge type 7.62mm x 54mm.

“Our specialist testified in accordance with standard operating protocol in forensics and crime scene investigation which relies on analysis of physical evidence backed by empirical scientific procedures to draw objective conclusions and inferences and not heresay or sensationalism.

“In line with best practice and principles of fairness in adjudication parties are considered innocent until proven guilty and the role of an expert witness is never to ascribe innocence or guilt but to support the courts in its finding.

“We strongly advise all new outlets to desist from sensational reporting and reach out to us via our widely circulated contact address on any matter where they require our direct comments.”