On the 20th of October 2020, officers from the Nigerian Army opened fire on unarmed #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos, at about 7pm, and the events of that night, which has become one of our generation’s most shocking and abominable incidents.
The thoughts of a country’s military shooting at unarmed protesters is as horrifying as it gets, except that in this case; the action happened and would be difficult to dismiss as ‘lacking in fact.’ In the minds of many, the Nigerian government has apparently been doing everything within its power to convince the world that the victims’ accounts of that night are nothing but exaggerated or fabricated stories.
Employing what can best be described as gas lighting techniques, the Nigerian government has made bold attempts to make the people doubt their sanity, for daring to believe that the Nigerian Army is capable of such a horrendous act.
From a flat denial of the credibility of a live Instagram video, to downplaying the casualties as only injuries, to claiming that the soldiers sent to the Toll Plaza only used blank bullets. Former Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola even had to visit the site of the incidence to ‘personally’ investigate, leading him to ‘discover’ an abandoned video camera at the scene.
The Nigerian Army has given its own account of the sad event before the
Judicial panel set up to investigate the shooting, but a final report is not out as the panel is still sitting.
International news giant, Cable News Network (CNN) has however, conducted its own investigations into the incidence and on Wednesday, released a damning report on the development.
Using time stamps, eye witnesses accounts, GPS technology, video evidences and trade records, the news agency’s report totally contradicts government’s narrative that the Army didn’t fire live rounds at the unarmed protesters. The footage presents even more disturbing sights than many had imagined. They traced the shells of the bullets fired at the protesters that night to its trade records, to arrive at the conclusion that the shells submitted to them for their investigations were indeed purchased by the Nigerian government from Serbia.
Their findings seem appears too concrete to dismiss and the footages they presented, some of which have not been seen before, makes it hard for anyone to really doubt this latest twist to the events of October 20.
On the minds of many Nigerians at this time, the thoughts is likely to be “how do they plan to discredit this report?” Every well-meaning citizen will be eager to hear government’s side to this.
The fear of being labelled as ‘agents of fake news’ is the principal reason why a lot of the victims have been quiet. With CNN however, these eyewitnesses and families of the victims are at least assured that their stories will be more objectively presented to the world, as we have now seen.
Doesn’t this report finally detach any ambiguity as to whether the Nigerian Army shot Nigerian citizens dead or not? There is already a revived outrage on Twitter among young Nigerians and its likely going to be so, for days.