Written by CNN Staff Writer
Following a month of student demonstrations for free education in Lekki, a suburb of Lagos, a joint panel of the Lagos State Judicial Commission of Inquiry has condemned the toll gate shooting which left dozens dead and hundreds injured.
The violence, which broke out in September following protests calling for the removal of the toll gate near Lagos State’s University of Lagos, involved a clash between pro-union protesters and the Lagos State Government security personnel.
Students marching toward the toll gate take off their caps in Lagos. Bloomberg/PA Images via Getty Images
“The commission urges this government to set up a judicial probe and an independent inquiry headed by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria to investigate in a thorough and unbiased manner this most unspeakable carnage,” the commission said in a statement.
“A judicial investigation is the one way this government can enthrone in the annals of our history the minimum of moral standards that should have been revered by a civilized and civilized country,” it said.
Protesters marching to the toll gate are held back by police. Getty Images
The statement follows statements from the Lagos State Government and the Nigerian president condemning the violence. It added that “the commission will consider if further punitive measures against the government are necessary.”
At least 57 people died in the gunfire, according to the protesters, while reports from local health officials say that nearly 400 people were injured.
That figure has been disputed by the Lagos State Government, which has previously stated that 13 people were killed.
In a statement, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his condolences to the families of those killed and injured. “We fully understand the reasons for this peaceful protest which deserve commendation. However, it is my opinion that both the manner and the time for the peaceful protest was not entirely appropriate,” he said.
“Without violating the rights of the protesters, the right of every Nigerian to engage in lawful protests cannot be abridged. I wish to reassure you of government’s full commitment to justice for those in our society who lost their lives,” he said.