(L-R) – Nduka Obaigbena, the Chairman of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Editor in Chief of THISDAY, Salisu Suleiman, Chairman of News Media Association of Nigeria (NAN), Jennifer Carol and Mr. Bayo Ojo (not pictured) are seen in a file photo. REUTERS/Stringer
LONDON – The Nigerian judicial panel that is investigating the fatal shooting of three people at a toll gate at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos, south Africa has condemned the incident as a massacre and ordered investigations into the shooting, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.
“The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, in company of members of the panel, deplored the heinous criminal act, which among other things, highlights the dangerous threat posed by crude arms to the lives of citizens, particularly when the arms are being kept by private persons,” NAN said.
“The panel ordered Lagos State Police Commissioner Imohimi Edgal to lead a police team to collect evidence pertaining to the incident which was witnessed by NAN journalists and journalists of reputable news mediums.”
Edgal had earlier described the incident as a tragedy for the state as well as for security agencies.
The incident had prompted an angry mob to attack NAN’s Nigeria correspondent in the state, Bayo Ojo, who was part of a news crew there.
Police arrested Ojo on charges of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide before releasing him on bail.
The Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Michael Omeri, confirmed the arrest of Ojo.
He said the journalist had been granted bail and was set free after he paid N30,000 bail bond.
“Ojo was a trespasser and engaged in bad publicity for our agency,” Omeri said.
“He refused to obey a court order, even when he had earlier been granted bail.
“He could not produce any witness who could testify that he was a Nigerian on duty at the time of the incident,” Omeri said.
On Saturday, Nigeria’s immediate past Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, said the investigation would be comprehensive.
Arase, who is now the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said the matter was of a serious nature, which required thorough investigation.
The three victims – a British woman, her Nigerian husband and a South African – were on a business trip to Lagos.
They were killed when a container truck loaded with sand was shot and rammed into an open toll gate at an industrial estate in the state.
NAN reported on Sunday that the three were rushed to a nearby hospital, but died on the way.
Police spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi said it was believed that the five-tonne container hit some electric cables and some vehicles before smashing into the gate and meeting its demise.
The coordinator of the toll gate, known as Great Nigeria Motorway, Ms. Onikepo Ethenu, was interrogated by the Police and released on police bail.