CCTV camera audio not active during protest at Lekki Toll Gate, LCC tells judicial panel

The operator of the Lekki toll gate, Lekki Concession Company said the audio functionality of the surveillance camera at the toll gate was not activated, saying it was deployed for traffic management and not for human beings.

Managing Director of the rolling company, Mr Abayomi Omomuwasan gave the submission during the presentation of the security footage of the October 20, 2020 shooting at the Lekki toll gate while being cross-examined by the counsel to the Lagos State government, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN at the Judicial Panel of Inquiry for victims of the disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS sitting in Lagos.

He stated that the surveillance camera at the toll plaza scan as far as 1.75km and 2km on either side and it was active until 8 pm when it stopped working.

He submitted that “at the early hours of October 20, around 10 am, when we noticed that people are gathering around the toll plaza, we decided to safeguard our property because they are very expensive. We removed the Automatic Plate Number recognition and some other equipment like the laptops but we did not tamper with the surveillance camera.

“It was working perfectly until around 8 pm when it stopped working because the network got disconnected as a result of the burnt server.

“Consequent to the imposition of the curfew by the state government which initially was to commence at 4 pm, we issued a statement to our staff to go home, therefore, none of them witnessed the shooting that followed.

“But prior to the October 20 shooting, precisely from October 8, protesters had been coming around with the inscription #EndSARS boldly written. We noticed their movements on both sides of the plaza. And when they started progressing to the cubicle and blocking the road, it was at this point we withdrew our staff to avoid confrontation.

“It was alleged that we switched the light. We never did. In fact, we issued a press statement to debunk the allegation. Neither did we received any instruction or order either from the Lagos State government or the military to switch off the light. We left the plaza to comply with the curfew imposed by the state government.

“We have no report line to the governor and since the incident, we have had no access to the plaza until when the Panel visited. The tolling system is completely down. All our staff are at home and it will take nothing less than six months to restore the machines. In spite of this, we have not entrenched any of our staff just as we have not confirmed any fatal casualties since the shooting.”

Having admitted the footage and other documents as an exhibit, retired Justice Okuwobi while refusing to grant the LCC access right to the plaza said the situation could warrant another visit by the Panel to the scene, therefore, it will not be right for anyone to access the scene.

She adjourned sitting to Friday, November 6.

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