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Amnesty International has accused the Nigerian government of cover-up over the shooting of unarmed#ENDSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday, October 20.
Amnesty International in a statement said, “Nigerian authorities’ must end their attempts to cover up the Lekki Toll Gate massacre.”
According to the rights group, it has proofs that the shooting of the protesters was done by state security forces.
“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.
“At approximately 6.45 pm, the Nigerian military opened fire on the #EndSars protesters who were peacefully calling for an end to police brutality.”
Following the shooting, Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo Olu On October 21 said there were no fatalities in the incident and blamed the shooting on “forces beyond direct control”. Also during an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson Sanwo-Olu said “persons dressed in military uniform” shot at the protesters and said everyone culpable in the attack “would be prosecuted”.
Sanwo-Olu also tacitly told BBC’s Paul Henley in an earlier interview that the military men were to be at the toll plaza at 10 pm and not earlier.
The Military who are been accused of carrying out the shooting initially denied the involvement of its personnel at the protest scene, only to make a U-turn six days later, and revealed that the army was invited to the scene by the Lagos State Government but denied they ever shot at protesters.
But Amnesty International said on October 21 that at least 12 persons were killed at two protest locations Alausa and Lekki both in Lagos.
Amnesty International said many people are still missing since the day of the incident but said it is still investigating the shooting and the reported removal of bodies of those killed by the military in an attempt to remove evidence.
“What happened at Lekki Toll Gate has all the traits of the Nigerian authorities’ pattern of a cover-up whenever their defense and security forces commit unlawful killings,” said Osai Ojigho, Country Director of Amnesty International.
“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 initial denials of the involvement of soldiers in the shooting was followed by the shameful denial of the loss of lives as a result of the military’s attack against the protests.”
The right group called on Nigerian authorities “to bring to justice those behind the shooting and to protect those who are exercising their right to freedom of assembly.”