By Moji Eniola
Lagos, Nov. 3, 2020 Lekki Concession Company (LCC) has said that CCTV cameras at Lekki Tollgate stopped working at 8p.m. on Oct. 20, the day military men alleged shot at unarmed #EndSARS protesters.
Managing Director of LCC, Mr Abayomi Omomuwasi, made the disclosure while testifying during proceedings of Lagos #EndSARS Judicial Panel on Tuesday.
Led in evidence by his lawyer, Mr Rotimi Seriki, Omomuwasi said that the cameras stopped working due to network issues.
“We never tampered with the surveillance camera, that is why we have footage until 8 p.m. when it stopped recording.
“It was around 8.p.m. that we did not get any CCTV recording. It stopped recording because of network issues with the system.
“The major cause is that we have the network that connects our cameras together at Ikoyi Link Bridge, Chevron office and the Lekki Tollgate.
“What brings them together is resident at the Ikoyi Toll gate plaza which has been burnt,” the LCC boss said.
Omomuwasi said that the surveillance equipment at the tollgate had been upgraded to global standards and that the surveillance footage could go as far as 1.75km and 2km on either side.
He noted that audio was not activated in the surveillance cameras because they were used solely for traffic management.
The LCC boss said that the no CCTV camera was removed hours before the shooting on Oct. 20.
“Early in the morning of Oct. 20 around 10 a.m. we noticed that they started tampering with our equipment and we decided to harvest our equipment because they are very important, expensive,” he said.
He said that on Oct. 20, the automatic plate number recognition camera was removed as well as other equipment such as laptops.
Omomuwasi noted that the LCC is 100 per cent owned by the Lagos State Government and its sources of revenue were tolling revenue and adverts on the road.
He said that the adverts were outsourced to private advertising agencies to maximise revenue, adding that LCC was not involved in supplying power to the signage at the tollgate.
Omomuwasi also debunked a social media report which alleged that LCC Chief Security Officer is a former SARS officer and was asked to molest #EndSARS protesters at the tollgate.
“We do not have a former SARS officer in our employ. We have dedicated policemen because of the value of our equipment and the cash we hold,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that items the panel admitted into evidence from the LCC boss were a portable storage containing the Oct. 20 footage, a press release, pictures of vandalised equipment and copies of emails.
Answering questions from Mr Abiodun Owonikoko, counsel for the Lagos State Government, Omomuwasi said LCC never received instructions from the state to power down electricity at the tollgate or remove the CCTV.
He said that to the best of his knowledge there were no fatal casualties from the events of Oct. 20.
The LCC boss appealed to the panel to allow the company access to the tollgate to enable assessment of the damage and renovation works.
“Presently employees are not working, we are currently at home. We have not had access to the tollgate.
“We will like to appeal to the panel to allow us access the damage, attend to insurance and other issues.
“Any projection on the damage is just guess work. The whole tolling system is destroyed, it will take nothing less than six months to repair as we have to do procurement, design etc,” he said.
Responding to the LCC boss’ appeal, Chairman of the nine-member panel, retired Justice Doris Okuwobi, however, said that the panel would not grant the company immediate possession of the Lekki tollgate plaza.
She noted that a need might arise for the panel to make another visit to the tollgate after viewing the footage the LCC had presented to the panel.
Proceedings were adjourned until Nov. 6 for the continuation of the LCC managing director’s testimony.