Exactly two years ago (October 20, 2020) the entire country was plunged into mourning following shootings in the Lekki Tollgate allegedly carried out by the Nigerian Army to stop the youths protesting against police brutality.
Recall that Nigerian youths across the country had in October 2020, staged nationwide protest over extrajudicial killings by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.
At about 6:50 p.m on October 20, 2020, officers of the Nigerian Army allegedly opened fire on unarmed protesters who converged at the Lekki Tollgate, leading to the death of several unsuspecting citizens.
DAILY POST recalls that a report by Amnesty International stated after the incident that at least 12 protesters were killed by the Nigerian military.
A day after the incident, on 21 October, the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-olu, initially denied reports of any loss of lives, but later admitted in an interview with a CNN journalist that “only two persons were killed”.
The President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government had also claimed that there was no single evidence to prove that any protester was killed at the tollgate.
Some Nigerians who spoke with DAILY POST in Abuja on Wednesday lamented that the victims of the Lekki massacre were yet to get justice.
An On Air Personality, James Idoko lamented that despite video evidence, the government insisted there were no killings at the Lekki Tollgate.
He said, “This APC regime is the worst thing that happened to this country. First, they don’t value human lives, they do whatever they want. The way the government is handling the current insecurity has justified that the Lekki massacre was orchestrated. Life means nothing to them.
“Even when CNN and other foreign media platforms revealed that people were massacred in that incident, these archaic people still insist it never happened. What a government. May the souls of the fallen heros continue to rest with the Lord.”
A social media influencer, Vicky James told our correspondent that the outcome of the forthcoming election would teach some politicians who according to her orchestrated the shooting a big lesson.
She said, “In 2020, they acted like they didn’t need us. Tinubu flew out of Nigeria shortly after the incident. There is a saying which says that ‘a clear conscience fears no judgement’. Why was he running? And till today, what has he said about it?
“They killed innocent people who are demanding for something that is their right. The police abused us and we said no, we decided to stage a peaceful protest and they decided to kill all of us”.
However, Emeka Daniel expressed optimism that one day, there would be a government that will ensure that the victims get justice.
The National Coordinator, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko told DAILY POST that some officials at the Lekki Tollgate should have been arrested.
He alleged that the CCTV camera in Lekki Tollgate was deliberately removed by those who orchestrated the shooting, saying that the CCTV removal alone was a public crime.
He said, “Operators of the Lekki Tollgate, what they did was that they put off the CCTV camera and they were cut on camera while doing that. That itself is a public crime. And the people who did that are yet to be charged.
“The government and the military have not actually admitted that people were killed in that incident even when video evidence revealed that a lot of Nigerians were killed.
“There are a lot of questions regarding the Lekki incident that the government is yet to answer. But we believe that one day, there will be a government that will want accountability because even if it takes a hundred years, a crime committed cannot be washed off.
“Those who are in government today, if they think that they are going to escape it, they are making a lot of mistakes. Some of the panels that were set up after the incident did well but not excellent because so many victims of police brutality were not compensated.”