The Lagos State judicial panel on restitution for victims of SARS related abuses and other matters sitting in Lagos today Friday 10th September 2021 received the presentation of the forensic analysis report of the Lekki tollgate incident of 20th October 2020 from the forensic firm engaged by the Lagos State judicial panel to carry out the investigation.
The Managing Director of Sentinel Forensics limited confirmed to the panel that he was the leader of the team that carried out a forensic analysis of the tollgate plaza based on the letter of engagement from the judicial panel dated 29th December, 2020. The Managing Director submitted the report in hard copy and a flash drive which was admitted and marked as exhibit.
Sentinel Forensics limited was engaged by the Lagos State judicial panel to carry out a forensic audit of the tollgate plaza with a five terms of reference which the MD admitted was the guiding principle in the discharge of the assignment and they are:
1. To carry out an investigation of the incident scene
2. To prepare a detailed report of the investigation
3. To carry out a digital analysis of the CCTV submitted by LCC
4. To carry out an forensic examination of the materials recovered from the scene, and
5. To prepare a forensic report of the analysis of the data received.
In carrying out it’s assignment, the forensic analysis firm, received the following items from the panel and they are:
1. 1 Seagate external hard drive containing CCTV footage of the 20th October 2020 of the Lekki tollgate plaza
2. 1 USB drive designated to contain CCTV footage of the incident presented by the Nigeria Army
3. 2 spent shell casings of bullets recovered from the scene by the panel
4. 4 ammunition tendered as exhibit by the Nigeria Army
5. 1 blind expended ammunition
6. 1 blind unexpended ammunition
7. 1 live expended ammunition
8. 1 live unexpended ammunition
The Managing Director of Sentinel Forensics limited told the panel that after taken delivery of the above mentioned items, the company proceeded to visit Lekki Tollgate plaza 1 and 2 with the purpose of ascertaining whether or not live ammunition was discharged around the vicinity of the incident.
Therefore, in line with the assignment terms of reference 2nd and 5th, the company produced a comprehensive forensic report of the scene of investigation and evidence received.
The panel counsel who led the managing director of Sentinel Forensics limited in his evidence in chief, applied for the flash drive to be played so that the witness can speak to the video. The panel granted leave for the flash drive to be played.
On carrying out extensive scene investigation, witness affirmed that scene examination showed extensive signs of vandalism and arson. Secondly, the investigation showed no apparent sign of damage as a result of the discharge of live ammunition around the vicinity.
On forensic analysis of the CCTV, witness stated that the team were denied access to the server and thus the authenticity of the CCTV evidence source could not be ascertained. However during extensive visual examination of the captured CCTV footage, the evidence did not show signs of being doctored, time frame and pixels were consistent suggesting the integrity of the incident video footage.
The managing director of Sentinel Forensics limited explained that the expended live ammunition cartridge of 7.62 by 39mm submitted by the Nigeria Army and the one submitted by the panel, were the same, however, the blind expended ammunition cartridge of 7.62 by 51mm submitted by the Nigeria Army and the one retrieved by the panel are not the same calibre.
All the counsels present then applied to be availed the hard and soft copy of the forensic report to study for the cross examination and the leave was granted.
The panel adjourned further hearing on the matter to 11th September 2021 and appealed to the counsels to expedite action on accessing the report so that the panel can conclude the Lekki tollgate incident investigation within the extended time frame of the panel.
The panel also conducted hearings into six other petitions listed on the causelist and adjourned for filing of final written address on two petitions, while the other four petitions were adjourned for further hearing based on application for adjournment by counsels to serve witness summons on persons, which was granted by the panel.
The panel sitting continues.