By Benjamin Omoike
The management of Sentinel Forensic Limited, a forensic firm engaged by the Lagos State Government to conduct a crime scene investigation of the alleged shooting of protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza on October 20, 2020, has denied indicting the Nigerian Army at the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Related Abuses and other matters.
It would be recalled that the head of the team from Sentinel Forensics Limited, Joseph Kayode Funsho, presented their report before the panel on Friday and stated their observations.
According to the management of Sentinel Forensic Limited, they have noticed inaccurate reporting and sensationalism of the proceedings, adding that the facts had been twisted.
The management in a statement made available to journalists on Sunday said, ‘’News making rounds on the internet and social media platforms suggests that Sentinel Forensic Limited findings implicate and indict the Nigerian Army in the shooting of peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll plaza on October 20th, 2020, is biased and unbalanced reporting, this is false and fake news.
“Our forensic specialist commented that following an extensive scene investigation at the Lekki Toll Plaza ,TP, by our team of specialist about 87 days after the incidence there was an absence of any physical evidence supporting the allegations of discharge of live ammunition by Nigerian Army personnel, This scene investigation was conducted days after Sentinel Forensics Ltd was engaged by the Judicial Panel of inquiry.
“With respect to the ballistic evidence presented to Sentinel Forensics Ltd for forensic examination by the Judicial Panel our specialist indicated that two cartridge casings, from expended and fired, of 7.62 x 39mm ammunition was tendered by the Judicial Panel as evidence recovered at the scene, while one unit of live, unexpended, not fired, ammunition and one unit of cartridge case, expended, fired round,7.62 x 33mm ammunition was tendered by the Nigerian Army.
“The Nigerian Army also tendered one unit of blank, unexpended,not fired, 7.62 ×51mm ammunition and one unit of blank expended,fired round,7.62 x 51mm ammunition.”
Sentinel Forensic Limited noted that their specialist mentioned amongst other things that the live ammunition tendered as exhibit by the Nigerian Army was of the same type of cartridge and calibre as the ammunition casings tendered by the Judicial Panel which is 7.62 x 39mm While the blank ammunition tendered was of a different cartridge type 7.62mm x 54mm.
The company noted that their specialist testified in accordance with standard operating protocol in forensics and crime scene Investigation which relies on analysis of physical evidence backed by empirical scientific procedures to draw objective conclusions and inferences and not here say or sensationalism.
The company categorically stated that section six above does not in any way, manner or form indict or absolve any of the parties currently before the Judicial Panel as it sits to determine what occurred at Lekki Toll Plaza on October 20th 2020 in line with best practice and principles of fairness.
“In adjudication parties are considered innocent until proven guilty and the role of an expert witness is never to ascribe innocence or guilt but to support the courts in its finding.” Sentinel Forensic Limited said
The company strongly advised all news outlets to desist from sensational reporting and reach out to Sentinel Forensic Limited, via their widely circulated contact address on any matter where they require their direct comments.