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13 Takeouts From CNN’s Investigation On The Lekki Toll Gate Shootings

The unforgettable events of Tuesday, the 20th day of October 2020 have become crested in Nigerian history and remained one that bags several unanswered questions from Nigerians and international spectators.

For two weeks non-stop, Nigerian youths held peaceful nationwide protests against police brutality, calling for the disbandment of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force. The protests, which started with just a few celebrities and social media influencers including Rinu Savvy, Majekodunmi, Macaroni & Falz, was in no time able to garner so much momentum way beyond the shores of the country to an unprecedented stage where the movement could provide food, security, legal assistance and advice, medical services and attention– and what have you– to the millions of protesters on various locations both home and abroad.

The demands of the leaderless but organized movement remained five in number;

  • Immediate release of all arrested protesters

  • Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensations for their families.

  • Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reported police misconduct within a period of 10 days

  • Carrying out psychological evaluation and retaining of all disbanded SARS operatives before they can be deployed (this should be verified by an independent body).

  • The government should increase police salary and they should adequately be compensated for protecting the lives and property of the citizens; up until the unfortunate event at the Lekki toll gate happened.

On Tuesday morning when the protesters gathered at the venue, little did they know the ground was to become a catacomb.

The Lagos state government had in the noon of the day, declared a curfew to begin at 4 pm. Refusing to back down while waiting for the government to hearken to their demands, the relentless youths kept on at the Lekki, singing the national anthem and waving the country’s flags until they were dismembered when the soldiers arrived and started shooting.

The government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari at the centre and Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the state have continued to deny the massacre, tagging the reports as fake news to the international community.

However, the United States’ Cable News Network has dug into the events of the day, analysing gathered video footage. And alas! findings reveal everything opposite to the claims of the government which might as well as imply that the government is privy to it all along.

Here are 13 major revelations taken out of the investigation

1. The military could have easily deployed soldiers to the Lekki Toll Gate in a very short time considering the distance of the nearest military garrison at Victoria Island to the location. It revealed that soldiers from the garrison called Bonny Camp located at the Southside of Lagos state— precisely Victoria Island, a some few miles away from the Lekki Toll Gate; left their camp at 6:29 pm.

1.

2. From the above, the soldiers arrived through the other end of the Lekki Toll Gate from where the protesters were gathered. Note that there are over 5 different routes from V.I to Lekki and vice-versa.

3. At 6: 43 pm gunshots were fired. Contrary to the claims that the soldiers fired up into the air to disperse the protesters, the investigations reveal that the point at which the shots were fired at a level ground to the height of the protesters.

4. Drawing again from the above, protesters were seen in the obtained footages conducting CPR on shot victims. Since the army and the government have denied shooting at protesters, why the medical procedures?

5. As against the claims of the government, CNN has verified facts that the bullets fired were not blanks but live bullets. From further findings after the examination of the bullets, the guns used are ammunitions from Serbia 2005. Nigerian security forces obtained their ammunitions from Serbia every year between 2005 to 2016.

6. Into midnight of the day, police officers joined the soldiers at the Lekki Toll Gate.

 

7. There are missing persons since the event. Family members of some protesters reported dead are yet to see their loved ones dead or alive. In CNN findings, one of such people mission is Victor, who was seen loveless and dead at about 1:04 am, midnight as seen in the retrieved footage and the brother of the deceased, Elisha had testified that he received a call to confirming Victor’s death at about that same time.

If this be the case, it definitely verifies reports that dead bodies were carted away by the soldiers just to hide evidence.

8. CNN has also contacted over 100 families/persons either at the scene as a protester, living close to the location at the time or a family of a victim of that night. They all had reports of gunshots, gun wounds and of course, missing loved ones.

9. Some key campaigners of the movement like DJ Switch have fled the country as safety precautions for their lives. This means that though a democracy, their lives in Nigeria is not secured. “Nigeria is a dictatorship with a democratic Face”- DJ Switch once said.

10. Following the event of that day, many were injured and many others that have been involved have either been arrested while the accounts of some have been frozen. Why so much fuss?

11. The Nigerian government had initially told the international community that investigations are still being carried out whereas with proper journalism, the CNN, a media organization has been able to give these details in just three weeks.

12. These findings bring to light that regardless of the location, the international community is keeping tabs and news as well as reports are not stationed or location-barred.

13. Though the government might be able to sanction and hinder local media from carrying out in-depth investigations like this, the international community cannot be stopped.

However, the Nigerian government has flagged down the reports as unverified, false and untrue. The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed has reacted, saying the massacre is a hoax, bodyless and bloodless massacre and the reports of CNN is one-dimensional. This statement contradicts a previous statement of the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo sympathized with families of those lost their lives at the toll.

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