On October 20, 2020, at point blank range, soldiers of the Nigerian Army fired live ammunition at #EndSARS peaceful protesters at the Lekki-Victoria Island tollgate, killing over a dozen and injuring hundreds more. That’s a fact. As evidence of the shooting made travelled through social media, following Nigerian DJ/artist, DJ Switch’s Instagram Live stream of a critical portion of the events that night, the Nigerian military responded quite insensitively, stating that no soldier was at the protest grounds and marking every single report of the tragic incident as fake news.
In collusion with the Lagos state government and the Federal government, this vehement denial from the military was the order, until the seams began to unravel days after. It took an entire week for Governor Sanwo-Olu to acknowledge that civilians were indeed killed Less than a month after this appearance on CNN, the international arm of the news-based broadcasting channel and publication has published its investigative report that sheds new light to the shootings. Examining hours of already seen and previously unseen footage, and also speaking to over a hundred of the people present at the tollgate on that Tuesday evening, as well as family members of deceased victims, the report, presented in written format and a mini-documentary, confirms what we all knew.
Dispelling every untruth the army has been spreading about its involvement in the massacre, the report uses metadata from received images and footages, along with eyewitness account to trace the army’s activities on that evening. They show footage of the soldiers arriving at the tollgate from the Victoria Island side and subsequently opening fire on peaceful, unarmed protesters, at shoulder level. The CNN International investigative team even goes as far as tracking down the manufacturers of the live bullets used by the soldiers, noting their Serbian origins and disclosing Nigeria’s arms deal with the Eastern European country from 2005 to 2016. They also interview families of those killed at the protest grounds, some of whose bodies have yet to be found or delivered to these grieving families.
It’s a bit insane that there has to be confirmation for a tragic event that so many of us witnessed virtually, simply because the army and the government are dedicated to muddling their involvement in one of the most gruesome, and the most publicised, acts of violence on Nigerian soil. This CNN International report dispels the Nigerian army’s attempts at bending the truth, especially as army spokesperson, Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo, has been testifying intermittently in front of the Lagos state Judicial Panel. Last week, Brig. Taiwo stated that the soldiers only fired blank rounds into the air, denying that anyone died or was injured from gunshots. By virtue of its extensiveness, thoroughness, and CNN’s reputation as a credible source for global news, this report tells the unequivocal truth, potentially quelling the doubts of any remaining sceptic about the realness of the Lekki massacre.
You can (and should) read the written report and watch the mini-documentary here.