A damning new findings from the investigation by the Amnesty international has urged the Nigerian authorities to end their attempts to cover up last week’s massacre of peaceful protesters at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos Nigeria.
In a detailed release of a timeline, available here – Amnesty’s Crisis Response experts after investigating and verified social media videos and photographs came to the conclusion that confirm the presence of armed security operative at the Lekki Toll Gate when the shootings occurred.
The evidence confirms that Nigerian Army vehicles left Bonny Camp, a military base approximately a seven-minute drive from the toll gate, at 6.29pm local time on 20 October.
Footages then tracked the vehicles to the toll gate – with four vehicles apparently belonging to the Nigerian military and police seen with flashing lights heading east in a convoy along Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue – now Lekki-Epe Expressway – in the direction of the toll gate.
Further photographs and footage capture the vehicles arriving at the toll gate, before the peaceful protest was disrupted by men in military uniform with gunfire at approximately 6.45pm.
Mobile phone camera footages filmed and shares on various social media platforms were verified as authentic.
Amnesty is hereby calling on the Nigerian authorities to bring to justice those behind the shooting and to protect those who are exercising their right to freedom of assembly.
Investigation is however, still ongoing on the alleged removal of bodies of those killed by the military in an attempt to cover up the incident.
Osai Ojigho, Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, said: “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.
“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 to be 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 has been monitoring developments across Nigeria since the #EndSars protest began on 8 October.
Nigerians have been taking to the streets peacefully demanding an end to brutality, extortion and extrajudicial executions by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian police tasked with fighting violent crimes.
At least 56 people have died across the country since the protests began. In multiple cases, the security forces have used excessive force in an attempt to control or stop the protests.
The Presidency has rejected the Amnesty International (AI) report on the #EndSARS protests describing it as “misleading and inaccurate”.