A former marketer of the defunct Etisalat Telecommunications Company (now 9mobile) was among the casualties at the Lekki toll gate Tuesday evening’s shooting by officers of the Nigerian army.
Anthony Okechukwu lived at Sangotedo, a suburb along the Lekki-Epe expressway, and was said to be an active participant of the protest before his death.
The Lekki toll plaza has been a rallying point of the nationwide protest where many Nigerians had consistently gathered to kick against police brutality and maladministration in the country.
At about 9:29 p.m. on Tuesday, a Facebook user, Henry Onongaya, announced the death of Mr Okechukwu on his wall.
Mr Onongaya did not give details of how Mr Okechukwu, whom he described as his relative, died.
His post reads; “God is it your will for us to be dying at the youthful age. God this is too much for me to handle. But all the same LET YOUR WILL BE DONE. RIP BLOOD,” adding; “RIP blood, I will love you for life and I won’t forget this day. I will always remember you every 20th of October. I love you.”
His post seems to be reacting to an ugly trend as he had earlier on October 16 mourned another young man, identified simply as Uche.
Meanwhile, almost every comment on Mr Onongaya’s post described Mr. Okechukwu, as a strong believer in Nigeria’s project, and spoke glowingly about his commitment to the protest since it broke out on October 8.
Another Facebook user, Ogah Ochanya Agnes, claimed she received the news through Mr Onongaya’s girlfriend, who is identified as Amarachi. Amarachy’s name on Facebook is Army Pearl.
Ms Agnes, who said she spoke with Mr Okechukwu on the phone on Monday, wrote; “This is so disheartening. We were on call yesterday little did I know that will be our last conversation, You were outside struggling, fighting for the country to be better. What a day to remember. Go well!!! Rest in peace! You were a hero to your generation and forever will u remain in our heart. Rest in peace Comr Anthony Okechukwu.”
Ms Agnes’ post had attracted nearly 1,000 comments, as of 7 a.m. on Wednesday. They expressed sorrow over the death and blamed the government for the killing.
Others, who have flooded Mr Okechukwu’s Facebook wall, consoled his family, while videos of his activities at the protest ground have been shared widely.
In one of the videos, a lady simply identified as Lucy, who was dancing at the protest ground with Mr Okechukwu, is also said to have died from the shooting.
A Twitter user, @tiwaworks1, who posted the video of both Okechukwu and Lucy’s dance at the toll plaza protest ground, also showed three bodies on the ground, with an arrow pointed at the middle corpse as that of Lucy’s.
PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify the claim, but none of the hundreds of comments under the post controverted the handler.
Details of other victims are still sketchy as of the time of filing this report. But Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who visited some of the hospitals where those injured are currently receiving care, gave the number of the victims as 25.
Meanwhile, a popular disc jockey, DJ Switch, who consistently used her Twitter handle, @Djswitchaholic, to broadcast the happenings at the protest ground live, said bullets were still being fired as of 8 a.m on Wednesday.
She also filmed some injured protesters at an undisclosed location and thanked the unnamed owner of the facility for lending a helping hand.
It would be recalled that hours after the state governor announced a 24-hour curfew, armed men identified as soldiers invaded scenes of the protests in the city including the Lekki toll plaza, and the government secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.
The crowd of protesters in Alausa had reportedly repelled the soldiers but the same could not be said of those who invaded the Lekki toll where CCTV cameras were allegedly removed and lights put off before the sporadic shooting.