By Dakore Ghorashi, for CNN • Published 21st March 2020
A Nigerian judicial panel has condemned the shooting of scores of people, many of them children, in a children’s amusement park in Lagos in early March.
During the incident, which is claimed by a radical Islamist group, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), at least 55 people were killed and 170 others injured by suspected members of Boko Haram, the Nigerian branch of IS, in a crowded children’s ride at the popular Lekki area of the city of Lagos.
The Sunday night shooting incident at the Prestige Water Park, the fate of the alleged attackers remains unknown.
The ruling of the Lagos State Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the incident, published Tuesday, states that the shooting, involving the predominantly teenage children, “unleashed a worst kind of massacre on our people,” and said that “it has been discovered that none of the children who escaped had even seen the commission of inquiry, let alone heard of it before the tragedy occurred.”
“It was shocking to discover that our children, who had been enjoying a night of fun, were hounded down to meet the long end of the gun by their attackers, much more so when some of them gave accounts of being shot on the head or upper body while running out of the park,” the report said.
“The Commission is of the opinion that the circumstances surrounding the incident should lead to strict prosecution of the responsible for the tragedy; and possibly death penalty which is a different matter and would then be exercised by appropriate agencies in accordance with law and law enforcement authorities,” it added.
Brig. Gen. D. O. Ugboe, the chairman of the commission, was hopeful that strict recommendations will be made against the perpetrators.
“Even if the deaths and injuries will never be compensated, the Lekki menace of the terrorists may finally be quelled” he said, The News reported.
Authorities are blaming Boko Haram for the shooting.
The former Lagos state governor and now a lawmaker, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said the killings were a “crime against humanity.”
Boko Haram, which is based in northeastern Nigeria, in 2015 split from an alliance with IS. It has been fighting to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria. It is also blamed for attacks on villages and killing civilians in other parts of Nigeria and in neighboring countries, according to Amnesty International.
It has killed at least 20,000 people and displaced some 2.7 million.