Nigeria: Amnesty International Releases Timeline of Lekki Shooting, Warns Nigerian Govt Against Cover Up

Young Nigerians holding placards at an EndSARS protest (file photo).
28 October 2020

A human rights advocacy group, Amnesty International, has released a new timeline on the shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers in Lekki, Lagos, last week Tuesday.

The timeline included when soldiers left the Bonny Camp, a military facility, to the Lekki toll gate where peaceful protesters were gathered.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how Nigerian soldiers fired shots at protesters at the Lekki toll gate. At least two people were confirmed killed with witnesses saying the casualty was over a dozen. Many others were also injured with some treated for gunshot wounds. The attack triggered public debate and was condemned locally and internationally.

The NIgerian Army has, however, denied that it shot at the protesters, saying it was invited to enforce a state curfew by the Lagos State Government.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos has condemned the shooting, saying he never ordered soldiers to shoot at the protesters. He has also constitued a judical panel to investigate the incident and other similar ones by security agencies.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International said it has 'credible but disturbing evidence' that security forces fired at protesters. It further said that the "Nigerian authorities' must end their attempts to cover up the Lekki Toll Gate massacre".

Speaking on the timeline, Osai Ojigho, Country Director of the group, said it has a timeline that "collates photographs and video footage to confirm that Nigerian Army vehicles left Bonny Camp, a military base approximately a seven-minute drive from the toll gate, at 6.29 pm local time on 20 October."

"Footage then tracks the vehicles to the toll gate. At approximately 6.45pm, the Nigerian military opened fire on the #EndSars protesters who were peacefully calling for an end to police brutality."

"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 being turned off minutes before the military opened fire on protesters?" the group said.

In addition, Mrs Ojigho said the agency is also in possession of evidence of how the military prevented ambulances from rescuing gunshot victims.

Timeline:

"At 6.29pm local time in Lagos, two military vehicles were filmed leaving Bonny Camp on videos shared on social media. Later footage shows four vehicles with flashing lights in a convoy, and they appear to be vehicles used by the Nigerian military and police."

"The same vehicles head east along Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue - which changes its name to the Lekki-Epe Expressway - in the direction of the Lekki Toll Gate. On this route, the vehicles pass several international embassies and consulates, including the Japanese Embassy and the Australian High Commission."

"Further photographs and footage capture the vehicles arriving at the toll gate, before the peaceful protest is disrupted by men in military uniform and gunfire is heard. As night time descended, protesters continued to film and share videos of the shootings. Later in the evening, videos of the victims were also shared on social media", the group further said.

Speaking on death across all states of the country since the #EndSars protest began on October 8, Amnesty International said at least 56 people have died across the country since protests began.

"In multiple cases, the security forces have used excessive force in an attempt to control or stop the protests."

"While we continue to investigate the killings, Amnesty International wishes to remind the authorities that under international law, security forces may only resort to the use of lethal force when strictly unavoidable to protect against an imminent threat of death or serious injury," the group stated via Twitter.

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