The Lagos State Commissioner of police represented by the OC operations of the Nigeria police force Lagos State command Assistant Commissioner of police ACP Oludotun Udubona on Tuesday continued with his testimony at the Lagos State judicial panel on restitution for victims of SARS related abuses and other matters.
Mr Oludotun Udubona had made his first appearance before the Lagos State judicial panel last week Tuesday 7th September 2021. In the continuation of his testimony Tuesday at the panel, Mr. Odubona narrated how the Lagos State command of the Nigeria police force lost two Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC), 63 vehicles and motorcycles, police stations, area commands, barracks, 38 personal cars of policemen to arson attacks during the EndSARS protest.
The casualty list also included policemen who were attacked and injured at the Adekunle axis of the third Mainland bridge, Ebute Metta, 2 policemen burnt and cannibalized when Orile Iganmu police station was burnt, freeing of detained suspects and looting of arms and ammunition.
The representative of commissioner of police submitted two flash drives which were played and showed how between the 12th and 13th October, Mr. Odubona, the commissioner of police Mr. Hakeem Odumosu and even Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu went to the Lekki tollgate protest ground to appeal to EndSARS protesters to give peace a chance, but were rebuffed and the Governor assaulted and pelted with sachet water and bottle water. Thereafter from the night of the 13th October 2020, the Lagos State commissioner of police ordered the withdrawal of police officers from the Lekki tollgate protest ground which forced the organizers to secure the services of bouncers and bodyguards for security.
Mr. Odubona also submitted a list of burnt police stations, barracks, area commands, vehicles, motorcycles and other items following an investigative panel constituted by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), which compiled the list. The documents were admitted and marked as exhibit by the panel
In the flash drive played, the OC operations explained the footages of civilians carting away arms and ammunition from attacked and burnt police stations, civilians adorning police uniforms, holding walkie talkie and even gun wielding EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate protest in which he explained that some of the footages were obtained from the internet. Scenes from the looting of ShopRite stores was viewed.
During cross examination by Mr A. J. Owonikoko (SAN), Mr. Odubona stated that he is unaware of any police shooting confrontation with EndSARS protesters along the Lekki Ajah corridor on the 20th/21st October 2020. On if he was aware of the high rate of cult gang fight for control of territories during the EndSARS protests, mostly along the Lekki Ajah corridor, the representative of the police Commissioner, explained that it was the order of the day before and during the protest and assumed a high dimension following the disbandment of the tactical teams of the Nigeria police confronting the monster as a result of the EndSARS protests.
On allegations that policemen from Maroko police station led by the DPO wearing white jalamia came to the Lekki tollgate protest ground after the men in military gear had left and shot EndSARS protesters, Mr. Udubona denied the allegations claiming that even when attacked, due to lack of directives, the police didn’t respond with the use of graduated engagement of the use of firearms, that if the police had been ordered, a lot of the killings, maiming and wanton waste of human lives of police men and civilians would have been averted during the EndSARS protest. Mr. Odubona also debunked the wearing of white jalamia, by stating that it was not part of the police uniform, he then went on to narrate the uniforms worn by the police for two purposes, namely administrative and operations.
Mr. Odubona in response to the cross examination of Mr. Rotimi Seriki affirmed that as the OC operations, it is his duty to receive and collate reports of crimes involving the use of firearms which he sends to Abuja and that when any crime involves the use of firearms, the medical doctor is under compulsion to make the report to the police or the victim’s family.
When asked if he received any official report of persons sustaining gun shot wounds on the 20th of October 2020 at the Lekki tollgate protest ground and treated at hospitals at Lekki, the ACP, denied any knowledge of such except what he read in the media. On the reported attack on Ilasan police station, Jakande Lekki Ajah by EndSARS protesters prior to the 20th of October, 2020. ACP Odubona confirmed the attack but stated that the attackers were rebuffed with teargas.
The other counsels from representing the EndSARS protesters, Mr. Adeshina Ogunlana and Mr. Olagunju deferred to cross examining the ACP, pending when they have been served with copies of the documents he tendered for them to study. The panel granted the service of the documents on them as it adjourned further hearing on the Lekki tollgate incident as it concerns the commissioner of police Lagos State to 17th September, 2021.
The panel thereafter conducted hearings into 6 other petitions on the causelist for the day and adjourned for decision on two petitions to a date to be communicated to parties, while adjourning for the adoption of final written address by counsels on a petition to a later date among other cases.