Lekki Massacre happened; no, it didn’t. That has been the jostle back and forth in the minds of many Nigerians since the unfortunate incident of October 20, 2020.
Over a hundred thousand bore witness to the callous opening of fire by the Nigerian army through DJ Switch’s live Instagram video, yet they were left confused when the government started its drama and theatrics. For those that were directly on the receiving end of fire from security agents, there was no haziness of comprehension but their voices couldn’t match the drowning voices of the government and doubters.
Despite the abundance of graphic images and subsequent outrage on social media, it began to seem at some point that the gaslighting by the government was starting to work.
But if there was any slight chance for the possibility, it was obliterated by the investigative report by CNN which was made public on Wednesday. The painstaking report by the Cable News Network put forward evidences which are in stark contrast with the claims of the Nigerian authorities and we examine them.
Casualty or no casualty
Before CNN’s latest investigation, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, who had initially denied any record of casualty, told same CNN that “two dead bodies, that is what we have seen from all the morgues, that’s what we have seen going to hospitals, that’s what we have seen as a record… I have been to the ground, there is no scratch of blood anywhere there.”
However, the visual evidence that has been put in face of Nigerians show that well over two people were killed and several others injured. According to Amnesty International, over ten people were killed. Meanwhile, relatives of the deceased even spoke to CNN while the injured eagerly showed their wounds.
Live or blank bullets
Even though the Nigerian army initially denied deploying soldiers to Lekki toll gate plaza by labelling indicting reports as ‘fake news’ on social media, they later admitted that they were at the scene. Their latest stance is that only blank bullets were fired at protesters.
Speaking before the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry, commander of the 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Brigadier-General Ahmed Taiwo said on November 14th that the military only fired into the air and didn’t even use live bullets. However, Brigadier Taiwo did explain that if real bullets were indeed used, a bullet was capable of killing three persons at one pull of the trigger.
To unfound their claims, CNN not only presented that live bullets were used, the media outfit traced the bullets to their origin. Some of the bullets used were made and purchased from Serbia and there was an export document to serve as evidence of Nigeria’s transaction with Serbia on ammunitions between year 2005 and 2016.
The testimony by the managing director of Lekki Concession Company (LCC), Abayomi Omamuwasan on November 3 in front of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry informed Nigerians that the Closed-Circuit Television camera (CCTV) of the company did not capture the shooting of peaceful #ENDSARS protesters by the Nigerian Army because it stopped working at 8pm.
Investigations by CNN revealed that the soldiers left Bonny Camp at 6:29 pm and started shooting at Lekki toll gate around 6:43 pm. If the cameras stopped recording at 8 pm, this leaves a gap of about one hour and seventeen minutes, which should be sufficient to prove what really happened at Lekki toll gate.
From the foregoing, the only seeming loose end is who takes the responsibility for the Lekki shootings. It is unmistakable that security agents were involved, lives were lost and many wounded at what was hitherto a peaceful demonstration.
Nigerians continue to await who would step forward between Lagos State and the Federal Government to say it ended lives of its youths.
Kola Muhammed has imprint across local and international media. He is passionate about trends in the domains of culture, communication and technology.