The Lagos State judicial panel on restitution for victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters, today, listened to the testimony of Oludotun Odubona, an Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of operations at the State Police Command.
The ACP is representing the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, who was summoned by the panel to assist it in its investigations especially aimed at unraveling what happened on the night of October 20, 2020, at the Lekki Toll Gate.
ACP Odubona recounted how the #EndSARS protests which started around October 8, grew to become a well-coordinated movement, with gatherings across the state, including one at the police command, the government house in Alausa, the Lekki/Ikoyi link bridge and the Lekki Toll Gate.
He also recounted how the protests started to turn violent such that the Governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu had to be protected and whisked away on October 13 when he addressed protesters gathered at the toll gate.
He recalled that the governor tried to plead with protesters to vacate the area as their demands were being considered but instead he was pelleted with sachet and bottled water, some of which he said contained urine.
ACP Odubona also said that on October 19, the protests had turned very violent, and there was a need to protect police facilities, so that the armoury wouldn’t be looted.
The witness testified that the highest level of gladiated force was needed to protect these installations, but this was dependent on executive approval which he said “was not forthcoming at the time.”
According to him, this is why so many police stations were burnt without much resistance, including the one at Orile, which is one of the newest stations in the state with high-tech equipment, which the Lagos State Government was building and furnishing to serve as a model police station.
ACP Odubona put the number of police casualties at the Orile Station at 6 with claims that many more officers were maimed and injured including the DPO of Orile police station CSP Folashade Daniels, who he said is now permanently incapacitated owing to the injuries she sustained during the attacks.
The witness supported his testimony by putting in evidence which included several pictures of police officers badly wounded and receiving treatment at various police stations, as well as gory videos of officers allegedly being attacked by protesters in different areas of the state.
He mentioned areas where the attacks took place to include, Orile, Surulere, Apongbon and EbuteEro.
He also tendered in evidence a list containing the names of a 109 police officers allegedly killed and wounded during the protests as well as the list of stations burnt, vandalised and looted across the country.