Lekki ‘Massacre’: Ballistic specialist berates media for not providing credible evidence before panel
The United Kingdom-based medical forensics and ballistic expert Dieye Tonye Willie-Harry has berated both local and international media organizations for being unable to provide evidence to back up claims of ‘massacre’ at the Lekki Toll Gate incidence.
PRNigeria gathered that Willie-Harry who is the Director of Oxygene Consulting UK Limited, was hired to assist the Justice Doris Okowubi (retired) led Lagos State Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses and Other Matters.
While testifying, on page 268 of the panel report, he confirmed that contrary to widespread media coverage, all forensic investigations of media contents undertaken by his company did not prove direct shooting of unarmed civilians by the Nigerian Army.
He stated that after the alleged shooting event that took place at the Lekki Toll Gate, international and local media relying on little more than, “unauthenticated time-stamped images, videos and witness statements lacking in proof and credibility immediately label what occurred as a massacre.”
On page 267 of the Panel report, he specifically said, “that there was no flailing or falling injured victims as a result of the shot that were being aimed or fired by a military individual. The impression of flailing can fairly be described as being hit in the chest cavity causing an impact which his team referred to as the arms moving forward in a veil and turning in a full circle as the victim is projected backwards as the impact to the projectile; this is what his team referred to as flailing. That there was none of that and his team also did not see any falling victims in any of the videos.
Also on page 266, he stated that, “the direction of the muzzles of the Nigerian military firearms as seen in various videos recorded during the incident varies predominantly from pointing towards the ground to directly skywards on the discharge.”
Willie-Harry who is also a light weapon specialist and military operations analyst with a background of extensive operational and high-risk deployment in Africa, Asia and the Middle East revealed that the rumoured outrageous numbers of death were also reconjugated on prime time TV and on social media that fatalities ranged from 70, then to 12 and eventually to 2 on the night in question. He further explained that local and international media have not offered evidence of any of the allegations made in their reports, also that CNN and Amnesty International backed out of their initial report of several people being shot and killed at Lekki Toll Gate to a claim of two fatalities.
On page 268 of the report, he explained that he and his team viewed extensively and digitally reconstructed various footages with the use of video equipment specifically for forensic video investigation and were able to break down all the digital videos that were received, layers by layers slowly, pinned it down, enhanced the pictures and the images and time stamp and code in each individual frame.
“The team digitally enhanced where necessary the time code and subtitle, reviewed and catalogued what the team felt are notable discrepancies and also reviewed process and catalogued videos stream and graphic materials from all available media to enable the fact checking and the summary of the report,” he explained and confirmed that no evidence to prove widely held belief and media coverage on the incidence.
He went on to confirm that the media footage reviewed are that of the reputable network, BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) channel news. He further explained that he looked at each individual media house and was given specific footages to examine which are open source because anybody can go online, search and look at them and also that nothing was hidden apart from the USB drive given to them by Lagos State Government
Citing an example of media misreporting, he stated that it was disclosed in the shooting part of the CNN report that there was shooting towards midnight and that it was not just the army, but that the police arrived and started shooting, whereas he noted a discrepancy with that statement because the Nigeria Army left the Lagos tollgate at 8:34pm as recorded and there is no evidence to prove the deployment of any other security forces afterward.
The expert making his conclusion from the examination and research surrounding open-source imagery and news reporting including social media, along with the individual injuries and medical reports on page 266 of the report, was of the opinion that live military grade ammunition may have been discharged at some point at the Lekki Toll Gate on the 20th of October, 2020 after 21:00 hours and possibly aimed at the road surface in front of protesters, this ultimately caused the projectiles to ricochet resulting in the core breaking out of the jacket and hitting the majority of the victims in the lower limbs at much reduced kinetic energy but with enough energy to fracture the long bones without exiting the victims’ bodies while his team was able to identify the firearms carried by the military officers during the alleged incident as Kalashnikov AK type variants including Chinese type 56, some with (foldable bayonet) extended. These weapons discharged the 7.62mm X 39mm type 56/PS which refers to the (molded steal core projectile with steel jacket).
While expressing concern that any of the international media could not report on what led to the curfew in Lagos state announced on the 20 of October 2020, neither did they report the burning down of police stations, violent armed clashes with so-called area boys, looting of military-grade weapons and ammunition from police armoury by thugs and other individuals, he emphasised that his team did not view any footage which definitely showed the muzzles being aimed at any individual and at the same time being fired with the effect thereof.
Recall that PRNigeria has reported a testimony by Dr. Babajide Lawson, a trauma and orthopaedic surgeon at Reddington Hospital, Lagos on the Lekki Incidence as quoted in the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry report has been found to be altered in a re-presentation by the panel.
It also reported how the panel provided a contradicting submission on forensic testimony by the Lagos State Chief Pathologist, Prof John Oladapo Obafunwa, in its report.
The medium had also revealed that video footage from the alleged Lekki Toll Gate incident along with witness submissions from Sentinel Forensics Ltd, a Forensic expert engaged by the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry did not prove allegations in support of alleged killings in the report.