Richard Ginika Izuora
Amnesty International, on Wednesday, October 28, implored the Federal Government to come clean regarding the true events surrounding the shootings of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos State.
Amnesty International also expressed its disappointment at “the Nigerian authorities’ attempts to cover up the Lekki Toll Gate massacre.”
The organisation also provided factual evidence regarding the true chronology of events which put the Nigerian Army at the site of the shootings on October 20.
Amnesty International’s Crisis Response experts investigated and verified social media videos and photographs that confirm the Nigerian security forces were present at the Lekki Toll Gate when the shootings occurred.
At 6.29 pm local time in Lagos, two military vehicles were filmed leaving Bonny Camp on videos shared on social media.
Later footage shows four vehicles with flashing lights in a convoy, and they appear to be vehicles used by the Nigerian military and Police.
The same vehicles headed east along Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue; which changes its name to the Lekki-Epe Expressway – in the direction of the Lekki Toll Gate.
On this route, the vehicles passed several international embassies and consulates; including the Japanese Embassy and the Australian High Commission.
Further photographs and footage captured the vehicles arriving at the toll gate, before the peaceful protest was disrupted by men in military uniform and gunfire was heard.
As night time descended, protesters continued to film and share videos of the shootings. Later in the evening, videos of the victims were also shared on social media.
“The timeline available here collates photographs and video footage to confirm that Nigerian Army vehicles left Bonny Camp; a military base approximately a seven-minute drive from the toll gate; at 6.29 pm local time on 20 October.
“Footage then tracks the vehicles to the toll gate. At approximately 6.45 pm; the Nigerian military opened fire on the #EndSars protesters who were peacefully calling for an end to police brutality.”
“What happened at Lekki Toll Gate has all the traits of the Nigerian authorities’ pattern of a cover-up; whenever their defence and security forces commit unlawful killings,” said Osai Ojigho, Country Director of Amnesty International.
“One week on, the Nigerian authorities still have many questions to answer: who ordered the use of lethal force on peaceful protesters? Why were CCTV cameras on the scene dismantled in advance? And who ordered electricity being turned off minutes before the military opened fire on protesters?
“The initial denials of the involvement of soldiers in the shooting was followed by the shameful denial of the loss of lives as a result of the military’s attack against the protests.
“Many people are still missing since the day of the incident; and credible evidence shows that the military prevented ambulances from reaching the severely injured in the aftermath.
“Amnesty International is again calling on Nigerian authorities to bring to justice those behind the shooting; and to protect those who are exercising their right to freedom of assembly.
“The organization is still investigating the shooting; and the reported removal of bodies of those killed by the military in an attempt to remove evidence.”