Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) Chief pathologist, Dr John Obafunwa, on Saturday told the Lagos State Judicial Panel probing police brutality that it received three corpses said to be from the Lekki Tollgate incident of October 20, 2020.
Obafunwa told the panel that the trio was part of the 99 corpses that the hospital received from different parts of Lagos and on which it did autopsies during and after the #EndSARS protest.
The Professor of Medicine, anatomic and forensic pathologist as well as Head of Department, Morbid Anatomy at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital College of Medicine (LASUTHCOM), said the 99 corpses were recorded between October 19 and 24, 2020.
Obafunwa’s testimony followed his invitation by the panel chairman, Justice Doris Okuwobi (rtd) to assist the panel in its investigation of the Lekki Tollgate incident.
No fewer than 14 petitioners have accused the Nigerian Army and Policemen of shooting several protesters dead and injuring several others during the #EndSARS protests against police brutality.
The army, which entered a defence denying the allegation, failed to honour subsequent summons requiring it to respond to further questions by petitioners.
Obafunwa spoke while being cross-examined by some of the #EndSARS protesters’ counsel, Mr Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika, SAN.
He presented the autopsy reports and pictures of three bodies from Lekki to the panel, showing different degrees of injuries.
“Those are the three bodies I was told were from Lekki as recorded by the people who brought them in,” he said.
But Fusika disputed the testimony, arguing that the number of dead protesters from Lekki was higher.
He said: “I want to prove to this panel that the claim that only three dead bodies were brought in from Lekki is not true.”
Fusika requested that the Chief Coroner be ordered to produce records of the 99 cases to the panel, including autopsy reports.
“Since he was told that only those three are from Lekki, he might have been told the wrong thing,” Fusika added.
But Obafunwa explained that the bodies were deposited by the Lagos State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit (SEHMU), an agency in charge of recovering dead bodies.
“I don’t go about scavenging for dead bodies. It is when they are brought in that we are told and it is recorded where they were taken from,” he added.
The Chief Pathologist said according to their records, the bodies were recovered from different parts of Lagos including Ikorodu, Lagos Mainland, Yaba, Mushin and others.
Granting his request, Justice Okuwobi ruled that the chief pathologist should produce the records at the next adjourned date.
However, she said autopsy reports would not be required as that would expand the work of the panel beyond the terms of reference.
The matter was adjourned till June 19.
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