A forensic expert from Sentinel Forensics Ltd, Joseph Funsho-Ako, on Saturday told the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry that the integrity of the scene of the Lekki tollgate shooting was compromised before they began a forensic analysis of the environment.
He told the panel investigating the Lekki tollgate shooting incident of October 20 that the “crime scene should have been preserved.”
Mr Funsho-Ako said this while responding to a question from Bernard Onigah, head of the National Bar Association (NBA), pro bono team for the #EndSARS protesters, why they couldn’t determine whether the ammunition recovered from the scene of the shooting were live or blank.
The forensic company was engaged by the Lagos State government on December 29 to conduct a forensic review of the incident at the Lekki Toll Plaza and submit a detailed comprehensive report on the subject.
Mr Funsho-Ako had on Friday submitted a ballistic report of the forensic investigation conducted on the ammunition presented by the Nigerian Army at the panel.
He had explained that the samples of ammunition presented by the Nigerian Army matched bullet shells recovered at Lekki Tollgate.
In November last year, the Nigerian Army, represented by Ibrahim Taiwo, the Commander of 81 Division, had told the panel that soldiers fired only blank ammunition at Lekki tollgate to disperse protesters on the night of October 20.
At another appearance before the panel, the army said although they went to Lekki tollgate on October 20 with both blank and live ammunition, they only fired blank cartridges.
Mr Funsho-Ako said his team went to the scene of the incident first on January 13 and later on 15, about three months after the shooting.
He said if they had gone into the area earlier, they would have been able to determine whether the Nigerian Army discharged live or blank ammunition.
During cross-examination by Mr Onigah, he said another analysis would be needed to find out the kind of ammunition used by the Nigerian Army.
When he was asked by the lawyer the nature of the analysis, he said, “to carry it out, it will require the firearm from individuals you are suspecting.”
Mr Funsho-Ako again insisted that when they visited the scene of the Lekki toll plaza, they discovered that the “integrity of the scene had not been preserved.”
“Items of physical evidence were removed and lost between the timeline of the incident at the scene and examination,” he said.
Mr Onigah asked the witness whether the 500-gigabyte hard drive containing the footage of the incident was the primary source.
Mr Funsho-Ako responded that they were made to understand that the hard drive was retrieved from the Lekki Concession Company (LCC), adding that “whether it was the primary source, I do not know.”
Earlier during the cross-examination, Adeshina Ogunlana, a lawyer representing some #EndSARS protesters, asked Mr Funsho-Ako if the camera recovered from Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, was given to his team for forensic analysis. The witness said “no.”
Days after the Lekki incident, Mr Fashola, while visiting the scene of the shooting, said he found a ‘hidden camera’ at the tollgate.