By Godwin Obi
The forensic team that presented its report to the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Friday said the integrity of the scene of the Lekki Toll Gate shooting had been compromised long before forensic investigations.
Managing Director of Sentinel Forensics Limited, Mr Joseph Funsho-Ako, explained that the compromise was because the team visited the toll gate, 87 days after the October 20, 2020 incident.
He added that the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) had even carried out a clean-up of the area before the visit by the forensic team.
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Funsho-Ako spoke about the incident in a testimony when he appeared on Saturday before the Lagos Judicial Panel on restitution for victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters.
He later answered questions under cross-examination from the counsel to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Bernard Onigah.
In the process, he explained that based on the information that the area had been cleaned up earlier, his firm called LAWMA, requesting information that could help with its forensic investigations, but they did not get any response.
On the ballistic evidence, he affirmed that the live ammunition presented by the Nigerian Army was of the same calibre as the cartridge casing submitted by the panel.
But the witness stressed the need for further analysis, to determine whether the expended live ammunition casings were fired by the army.
As at the time of this report, the forensic expert was being cross-examined by different lawyers at the panel.
Saturday’s session is the 123rd sitting of the panel following the hearing of the petitions of various victims of police abuse, during which some were awarded varying sums as compensation.
The focus at the latest proceeding was the long-awaited forensic report for the Lekki Tollgate Shooting which sparked widespread condemnation within and outside the country.
Sentinel Forensics Limited was engaged by the Lagos State government on December 29, 2020, to conduct a forensic review of the unfortunate incident that occurred about two months earlier.
The firm’s mandate required it to conduct a crime scene investigation at the toll plaza, submit a detailed report on the investigation, and examine the CCTV footage of the Lekki Concession Company (LCC), among other things.
It was also asked to give a digital forensic expert opinion on the recording of incidents on the day of the shooting, provide an expert opinion on any evidence recovered during the scene visit by panel members, as well as submit a detailed comprehensive forensic report on the subject.