Joseph Funsho, a UK-based forensic investigator, has punctured claims by the Nigerian Army that it only shot blank rounds at #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza on October 20, 2020.
In his presentation before the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution of Victims of SARS-Related Abuses and Other Matters on Friday, Funsho, the Managing Director of Sentinel Forensics Limited, said the bullets given to him by the panel to examine were two expended 7.62 x 39mm live ammunition recovered from the scene of the shooting.
He said it was impossible for the guns that fired the live ammunition to have fired the blank ammunition tendered by the Army to the panel as they are of two different calibres. The blank rounds, according to Funsho, were of 7.62 by 51mm.
Evidence analysis presented before the panel by the expert read: “The blank ammunition submitted by the Army is not designed to be fired by rifles chambered to 7.62 x 39mm.”
In his testimony before the panel, he said, “On 29th December, 2020, we [Sentinel Forensics] were formally engaged by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry to carry out forensic analysis with a specific mandate.
“To conduct a crime scene investigation at Lekki Tollgate (sand fill), to submit a detailed report on the investigation, to examine LCC’s CCTV footage and give Digital Forensic Expert opinion on same recording of incidents on October 20, 2020, to give expert opinion on evidence recovered during scene visit by panel members, submit detailed comprehensive forensic report on subject.
“We received from the tribunal, items for evidence which include one Seagate external hard drive designated to contain CCTV footage of the 20th of October, 2020 at the Lekki Tollgate plaza; one SLI USB drive designated to contain CCTV footage of the incident presented by the Nigerian Army; two spent shell casings of bullets recovered at the scene; four rounds of ammunition tendered as exhibits by the Nigerian Army; one blank expended ammunition; one blank unexpended ammunition; one live expended ammunition and one live unexpended ammunition.”
After they were given to Sentinel, he said they proceeded to conduct the crime scene investigation at the Lekki Tollgate. he said they also visited the other tollgates at TP1, TP2 and TP3. The purpose, he explained, was to ascertain whether or not live ammunition was discharged around the vicinity.
“We also reviewed the items of evidence that were presented to us, and in line with our second and fifth mandates under our terms of engagement, produced a comprehensive forensic report on our scene investigation and evidence review in hard copy and electronic presentation,” he said.
Funsho lamented the inability to examine Lekki Concession Company’s servers that stored the original CCTV footage presented to his firm to examine if the submitted footage was doctored or tampered with.
He tendered a letter written to the Managing Director of LCC and dated January 17, 2021, seeking access to their servers which might have stored a video footage of the Lekki Tollgate event, as exhibit before the panel. However, LCC has not responded to the letter till date.