Nigeria: #EndSARS - Outrage As Nigerian Soldiers Kill Protesters in Lagos

An #EndSARS protest in Lagos (file photo).
21 October 2020

Several protesters died Tuesday night when Nigerian soldiers opened fire on protesters at the Lekki toll gate.

The attack on unarmed protesters, hours after the Lagos State Government imposed a curfew in Lagos, left at least seven people dead, witnesses said. Some sources reported nine deaths. The figures are yet unclear. Several protesters were injured also.

As of press time, scores of injured protesters were receiving treatment at different hospitals in the city, PREMIUM TIMES confirmed.

Emergency personnels and ambulances were initially denied access by Nigerian Army at the Lekki toll plaza Lagos.

Multiple videos captured by citizens show the moment soldiers opened fire on the protesters, and the clips show terrified citizens crouching and screaming as gunshots rented the air.

Reactions

The attack has drawn widespread condemnations, within and outside the country, with former U.S. presidential candidate, Hilary Clinton, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to "stop killing young protesters."

I'm calling on @mbuhari and the @hqnigerianarmy to stop killing young #EndSARS protesters. #StopNigeriaGovernment

- Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 20, 2020

Some churches have also opened their doors to protesters to pass the night.

Lagos Govt Speaks

The Lagos State Government says it has ordered an investigation into the incident.

This is according to a statement on the Lagos State official handle posted Tuesday night.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu advised the security agents not to arrest anyone on account of the curfew.

There have been reports of shooting at the Lekki Toll Plaza, following the 24-hour curfew imposed on Lagos State to stop criminals who hid under the #EndSARS protests to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens.@jidesanwoolu @drobafemihamzat @gbenga_omo @gboyegaakosile #LASG pic.twitter.com/wP0dsQ3sBD

- The Lagos State Govt (@followlasg) October 20, 2020

Read some reactions below:

KILLING OF #EndSARS PROTESTERS IS UNACCEPTABLE

It is unacceptable to open fire on armless and defenceless citizens. Reports of shooting by soldiers at Lekki Toll Gate is most barbaric and unacceptable. These protesters have been the most orderly, most organized and most peaceful so far.

These are children holding nothing but the flags of their nation. What the security should have done was to go to the zones of violence and wanton destruction and stop the thugs and criminals, not these innocent children.

Even though we identify with the government on the need to restore law and order, there are other means to do that without resorting to using live bullets on these future leaders.

To think that the protest itself was against police brutality.

I call on the protesters to comply with the curfew imposed in demonstration of their commitment to the rule of law and due process.

I urge the security to cease further assault on the protesters. Government must identify all those responsible and bring them to justice.

I'm heart broken 😑

Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu did this.

- Burna Boy (@burnaboy) October 20, 2020

We can never forget the lekki toll gate massacre ✊🏾🇳🇬✊🏾🇳🇬

- Rudeboy (@rudeboypsquare) October 20, 2020

TINUBU

- Burna Boy (@burnaboy) October 20, 2020

Unarmed protesters bearing the National flag, singing the national anthem gunned down by the very people assigned to protect them. 💔. #EndSARS pic.twitter.com/Qffv9cxu1p

- Genevieve Nnaji MFR (@GenevieveNnaji1) October 20, 2020

Background

Thousands of protesters demanding sweeping police reforms gathered at the Lekki venue Tuesday evening, defying a curfew announced earlier by Governor Babjide Sanwo-Olu.

As night fell, state operatives raided the location, shooting live rounds indiscriminately, witnesses said. Some said the attackers were soldiers. PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately confirm that claim.

Writing on Twitter, Nollywood star, Omoni Oboli, said security agents attacked the demonstrators.

Several witnesses at the Lekki toll gate where the #EndSARS demonstrators have been protesting for nearly two weeks have shared videos and photos from the scene.

DJ Switch, a Nigerian artiste, who was at the location, streamed the shootings live on her Instagram page on Tuesday night. The streaming was still ongoing as the shootings continued.

Videos show the area is dark as the toll gates lights have been turned off.

Mr Sanwo-Olu announced a 24-hour curfew, effective 4 p.m. Tuesday, saying

no one, except essential service providers and first responders, should be found on the streets by 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Shortly after his announcement, there was panic on social media after photos emerged of unknown men removing CCTV cameras at the Lekki toll gate.

The Lagos State Police spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi, did not respond to repeated calls and text messages when contacted.

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