The in-depth investigation into the mayhem resulting in the deaths of unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, has stirred outrage from Nigerians on social media.
On that Tuesday, the youth protesting police brutality were shot by Nigerian soldiers. This resulted in a public outcry from Nigerians and members of the international community.
Not less than 13 protesters were shot that night with scores injured, data from Amnesty International, a global rights organisation, showed.
The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, repeatedly changed narratives from “no fatalities” to “few dead”. Likewise, the Nigerian Army, which initially denied involvement in the shooting, recently said the Lagos State Government called for its intervention but its men did not shoot at anyone.
Amid these narratives, this newspaper’s investigative team set out to unravel what actually happened on the evening of the shooting and the hours that followed.
PREMIUM TIMES published its findings on Saturday, with multimedia evidence of victims, who sustained different degrees of injuries.
Also, apart from the killing and maiming, residents of a shanty close to the Lekki Toll Gate explained that when the shooting started a stampede occurred.
They said some of the protesters ran into the community to take cover from the bullets flying all around them and in the process injured some of the residents of the community.
After speaking with several residents at the shanty, our investigative team discovered a floating corpse, whose picture was initially obtained online.
It was already swollen and decomposing. It was shoeless. The dead man was wearing blue denim jeans trousers and a flimsy white singlet. It also had a rubber band on its left wrist. The man seems to be slightly bearded, but it was hard to tell as a swarm of flies was already gathered around his decomposing face.
Also, multiple accounts of the victims contradict the claim of the Lagos government that protesters who were injured would be treated fully free of charge.
The victims said the state government has not contributed a dime to their treatments. Some of them who were originally treated are now being treated in other hospitals.
Reacting to the story, several Nigerians have labelled have called for justice and a thorough investigation of the incident while questioning the statements of the state governor.
‘Government of falsehood’
Sandra Ezekwesili, a broadcaster, highlighted the comment of one of the survivors, calling out the governor on Twitter.
“Why is Sanwo-Olu denying? Because immediately after when that thing happened Sanwo-Olu himself came. He came. He parked at the toll gate. He saw some dead bodies on the ground. Why is he denying,” he asked, ” she posted.
“This article left me enraged. Long but worth it, so much untold story about the Lekki Massacre. So SanwoOlu saw dead bodies that night,” another Twitter user, Tilly Tillie, wrote.
One Olabode stated that Mr Sanwo-Olu cannot be trusted on the fatalities recorded.
“This premium times Untold story of what happened in Lekki Toll Plaza on 20th of this month will make you hate the Government more. Lagos state governor is lying about the #EndSars fatalities recorded and multiple reports are telling us otherwise,” he wrote.
Another Twitter user, Chxta, noted that the incident of October 20 clearly indicts the Lagos State government, judging by the depth of PREMIUM TIMES’s investigation.
“It is clear that: People were killed by @HQNigerianArmy in #LekkiMassacre
@followlasg was derelict in its duty @dj_switchaholic told the truth,” he posted alongside a link to the report.
Cry for justice
More than ever before, Nigerians are calling for justice for victims of the Lekki Massacre.
A medical doctor based in the United Kingdom and social media personality, Olufunmilayo Ogunsanya, questioned the credibility of the Judicial Panel commissioned to investigate the wanton killings.
“How can a Panel report to a Governor who invited Army, knew Army will be in Lekki that night and lied nobody died? How can an accomplice in a crime enforce a panel finding that may incriminate him? How can an accused be judge in his own case?” the writer posted on Twitter.
Mr Ogunsanya’s stance was corroborated by another reader, who commented under the name ‘Opekete‘.
“With this story, the panel set up by LASG cannot be free and fair. There is substantial evidence that Sanwoolu is out to cover up for the soldiers and the police. These politicians ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Commenting on the report, another PREMIUM TIMES reader, Tawadaincommunicado, said only an international investigation would suffice.
“International justice is the only hope. Nigeria has since lost the ability to dispense justice.”
Leeward Lawrence echoed a similar view.
“The US And international community must swing into Nigeria to exhume all culprits on this waste of lives of Nigerian civilians. There must be an end to this evil and state covering. Fishing the criminals out and subjecting all involved to criminal prosecution has become sacrosanct.”
Katherine Vernasin, another PREMIUM TIMES reader who commented on the platform’s website, stated that the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and all prominent Nigerians must not allow the mayhem to be swept under the carpet.
“The NBA body must get involved and all rich/wealthy /reasonable meaningful NIGERIAN’S CIVILIANS must put all their weight on these omiguous criminals sacrilegious upheavals of this, wicked and unreasonable men/women in government and in the society…. We all must see to this gargantuan sacrilegious mess of our youths.( They might have killed one of the best president this nation Nigeria might have produced.etc.)..the thing dey pain Me reach my bones and stomach, I dey ves well, well O.”
Franklin Ikenye, a Facebook user, posited that the government should apologise rather than lie.
“But why is the government lying instead apologizing for their misdeeds and asking for forgiveness. The truth will not be hidden for long. Justice will surely prevail!!!”
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