Tuesday October 20th, 2020 was a dark day in Nigeria’s history. It will never be forgotten by the hundreds of thousands of people who watched in shock as men dressed in military uniforms opened fire on peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos.
People died and others were gravely injured. We all watched it live, thanks to Instagram live feeds recorded by those on the ground; especially DJ Switch.
#Nigeria: scenes from Lekki Toll gate as #EndSARS protestors are trapped and surrounded by fires and heavily armed security forces who are shooting unarmed people. (📹@BusTrendz) pic.twitter.com/wNJNENustI
— Anonymous (@YourAnonCentral) October 20, 2020
A military Operation at Lekki Toll Gate
The people in charge tried to stop the world from witnessing this horrendous onslaught. There is no doubt this was a deliberately planned and well-executed operation. Earlier on Tuesday afternoon, all CCTV cameras around the Lekki Toll Gate area were uninstalled by people who claimed they were sent by the “government”.
— Dr Dípò Awójídé (@OgbeniDipo) October 21, 2020
Later in the evening, electricity was also disconnected in the area. Gun fire was opened on the peaceful protesters at about 7 pm local time. There were reports that the shooters snatched away some of the bodies of the victims.
The Nigerian military is shooting at protesters in Lagos https://t.co/exj5epYTqV
— Joe Penney (@joepenney) October 20, 2020
A National Outcry and Condemnation
This unfortunate incident was met with wide-spread national backlash. Although most of the major national television stations failed to cover the event, livestream videos and images by people like DJ Switch and other courageous Nigerians circulated across Twitter. As expected, the likes of CNN used these videos as the basis for their coverage of the event.
Thousands of Nigerians immediately condemned the shooting on peaceful protesters. Even observers from outside Nigeria called out the Nigerian for the unnecessary and ruthless use of force. American actress, Gabrielle Union was one of those people. So was Hilary Clinton who put out a statement calling on President Muhammadu Buhari “to stop killing young #EndSARS protesters”.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 20, 2020
Meanwhile, the Nigerian military denied any involvement in the massacre. Tweeting late Tuesday evening, the Force issued a disclaimer on a screaming headline by Sahara Reporters, terming it “Fake News”.
Fake News!!! pic.twitter.com/4c1LHhRD7s
— Nigerian Army (@HQNigerianArmy) October 20, 2020
Governor Sanwo-Olu Went for a “Photo-op”
Hours after the shooting happened, the Lagos State Government issued a statement saying that it has instituted an investigation. And then much later this morning, the Governor of the state shared pictures of himself visiting the victims at two hospitals where they are receiving care. The looks on the patients’ faces are apparent enough –nobody was enthused about his presence there.
Now here is the interesting thing –the Governor claimed that last night’s incident was beyond his control. The question there is –who were behind these forces?
This is the toughest night of our lives as forces beyond our direct control have moved to make dark notes in our history, but we will face it and come out stronger.
I've just concluded visits to hospitals with victims of this unfortunate shooting incident at Lekki . pic.twitter.com/r5idAn9Pxw
— Babajide Sanwo-Olu (@jidesanwoolu) October 21, 2020
Earlier on Tuesday morning, the Governor had imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state in an effort to stabilise the escalating protests. Apparently, some hoodlums hijacked the peaceful protests and were causing harm. Meanwhile, the curfew which was expected to start from 4:pm was later shifted to 9:pm. Unfortunately, the update was given around the same time the protesters were being shot.
Let it be known that on Tuesday October 20th, men dressed in military apparels shot dead protesters who were protesting against police brutality and extra judicial killings in Nigeria. As at the time of this report, the President has not addressed the country.
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