Nigeria covering up the massacre of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki, says Amnesty International
Johannesburg - Amnesty International has called out Nigerian authorities for allegedly trying to cover up the Lekki Toll Gate massacre that took place on October 20 during the country’s #EndSARS protests.
The incident took place just before 7pm, when Nigerian armed forces opened fire on those protesting under the #EndSARS banner at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos State.
The number of those killed remains unclear, but could be as many as 15 people, according to protesters who were at the scene.
Nigerians have been taking to the streets, peacefully demanding an end to police brutality, extrajudicial executions and extortion committed by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars), a unit of the Nigerian police tasked with fighting violent crimes.
“What happened at Lekki Toll Gate has all the traits of the Nigerian authorities’ pattern of a cover-up whenever their defence 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?”
Amnesty International called on Nigerian authorities to bring to justice those behind the shootings and to protect those who are exercising their right to freedom of assembly.
The organisation said it was still investigating the shooting and the reported removal of bodies in an attempt to remove evidence.
Amnesty International has been monitoring developments across Nigeria since the #EndSARS protests started on October 8.
“At least 56 people have died across the country since protests began. In multiple cases, the security forces have used excessive force in an attempt to control or stop the protests,” said the organisation.
Vanguard newspaper reported on Monday that the Nigerian Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, found a hidden camera at the toll gate on Sunday .
“I think this will help with the ongoing investigations into the shootings at the Lekki Toll Gate.
’’It requires forensic analysis and could be used in the investigations to unravel the mystery surrounding the shootings at the toll gate, I believe,” he is reported as saying.
African News Agency (ANA)