Professor John Obafunwa, a consultant anatomic and forensic pathologist, told the Lagos state judicial panel on restitution for SARS-related abuses and other matters on Saturday that the coroners office performed post mortem autopsies on 99 bodies between October 20 and 27.
Obafunwa made this disclosure during testimony to assist the panel in investigating the October 20 shootings at the Lekki toll gate.
The pathologist, who was involved in coroner’s services through the office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Lagos State, stated that officers of the Lagos State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit LASEHMU collected the 99 bodies from various locations.
According to ChannelsTV, the pathologist identified only three of the 99 bodies as victims of the Lekki shootings.
He then discussed the post mortem report and the cause of death for each of the three male victims.
Additionally, the witness played video evidence describing the extent of the deceased’s injury and the cause of death.
According to the witness, the first body of an unknown victim identified as number 005, EndSARS/Yaba/2020, was brought in from Lekki bridge on October 24 by a Lagos state government agency and revealed a fracture, a laceration on the left side of the skull, and a decomposing body.
According to the pathologist, the cause of death was “bleeding into the chest cavity as a result of blunt force trauma to the chest.”
According to the witness, the second body, “041 unknown identity,” died at approximately 1.45 a.m. on October 21 and was rushed to Reddington hospital Lekki unconscious due to an open skull fracture. He was pronounced dead after an attempt to resuscitate him failed, and he was transported to LASUTH on November 1 for post mortem.
“An X-ray taken prior to touching the body revealed no bullets or pellets,” the witness stated. “The x-ray revealed multiple fractures to the skull.”
A ragged laceration running from the left to the right side of the skull was discovered during an autopsy. Additional examination of the wound revealed bleeding into the scalp, multiple skull fractures, and bleeding into brain tissue. There were bruises on the anterior fracture of the left rib in the chest.
“Internal organs were generally pale, indicating severe blood loss. Under the microscope and DNA samples, it was determined that the hypertensive heart disease patient died as a result of skull and brain injury caused by blunt force trauma.”
The third case, dubbed “062 unknown identities,” was also reported to have died at the Lekki tollgate. The body was reportedly transported to Yaba General Hospital, where an autopsy was conducted on November 2. The cause of death was severe blood loss as a result of a gunshot injury that disrupted a major blood vessel.
Olumide Fusika, counsel for several of the # EndSars protesters, criticised the testimony that only three of the 99 bodies were linked to the Lekki shootings.
He requested that the witness produce details of all 99 bodies in order for him to conduct a thorough cross-examination of the pathologist.
Olukayode Enitan, counsel for the Lagos State Government, objected to the application being granted.
He noted that the summons requiring his attendance at the panel required him to provide reports on the events of October 20, which occurred at the Lekki toll gate, in order to assist the panel.
Anything beyond this, he believes, invites the panel to act outside of its mandate and the instruments that established it, which is tantamount to acting ultra vires.
He pleaded with the panel not to grant the application.
After hearing from other lawyers on the matter, the panel’s chairman, Justice Doris Okuwobi, stated that while it would take a significant amount of time for the panel to sit through the examination of 96 additional bodies, she would defer to the lawyers’ majority decision.
The panel then directed Prof Obafunwa, the pathologist, to produce records and autopsy reports for the remaining 96 bodies.
The matter was continued until June 19.