Recently, a leaked memo came to light, exposing the Lagos State Government’s authorization of N61,285,000 for the mass burial of 103 individuals who were identified as victims of the 2020 EndSARS protests.
In response to the leak, the government has now addressed the situation, emphasizing that the victims scheduled for burial have no connection whatsoever to the contentious Lekki Tollgate shooting. The leaked memo has sparked public interest and raised questions among the public about the government’s handling of the aftermath of the protests.
The Federal Government’s statement on the proposed mass burial
The Lagos State Government conveyed through a tweet signed by Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, said that “The 103 casualties mentioned in the document were from these incidents and NOT from Lekki Toll-gate as alleged. For the avoidance of doubt, nobody was retrieved from the Lekki Toll Gate incident.”
Furthermore, the State Government asserted that the proposed mass burial aims to alleviate morgue congestion and create more available spaces. It says that the State Government’s proposed mass burial is aimed at decongesting morgues and freeing up spaces that have been occupied by unclaimed bodies for almost three years.
Also that the initiative which was approved by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, follows careful medical and legal guidelines to accommodate any potential claims from relatives who may come forward to identify their lost loved ones after such a prolonged period.
Nigerians reactions to the Federal Government’s statement
This did not go well with the public as many express their displeasure towards the state government through social media.
Rinu Oduala, a human right activist expressed concern over the Lagos State Government’s failure to conduct DNA tests for the families of the #EndSARS victims, despite requesting them to provide samples. She stated that some families, including Pelumi Onifade’s mother, had come to search for the bodies of their loved ones and willingly provided DNA samples. However, the government did not follow through with the promised DNA testing for the collected samples.
Another Socialite, Serah Ibrahim, recounting her experience during the #EndSARS incident said the event was a significant catalyst for many Nigerians to seek a change in the country’s political dynamics. She claims that even the Panel, which legally confirmed some of the events after initial denials by the Government, did not witness the full extent of what occurred. The accounts from the families who came forward during the proceedings were enough to move them to tears as well as her personal experience which prevented her from returning to work for a prolonged period.
She asserts that those who were present and witnessed the government’s actions will forever be changed, stating that it was that critical moment that motivated many to obtain their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and actively participate in changing the political landscape of Nigeria, with the pursuit of justice being a fundamental driving force.
A Nigerian internet personality, Jaypee recounts a troubling inconsistency where Governor Sanwo-Olu denied finding any dead bodies at the Lekki Tollgate during #EndSARS incident, as claimed on CNN. However, evidence from the Lagos State Government reveals that 103 people lost their lives during the protests. Despite this evidence, no justice has been served, and those responsible for the deaths remain unpunished, leading to a sense of disappointment and frustration with the Nigerian government’s failure to address the situation adequately.
Former Federal Minister of Solid Minerals and Federal Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili raises questions and expresses concerns about the proposed mass burial of End SARS victims. Addressing the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu, she refers to a viral document on social media indicating that the government has arranged services for the burial of 103 individuals who lost their lives during the #EndSARS protest.
She seeks clarification from the Governor, asking whether the State indeed possesses a record of 103 deceased individuals from the #EndSARS shootings and urges him to provide an urgent response to these inquiries.
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