On October 20, 2020, Nigeria was plunged into mourning following the Lekki toll road shootings allegedly carried out by the Nigerian military to arrest youth protesting police brutality.
This was the culmination of weeks of protests by Nigerians, young and old, against police brutality by a special unit of the Nigerian police, known as the #EndSARS movement.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was originally created in 1992 to combat robberies and other serious crimes but has now been criticized for being a corrupt unit that carries out extrajudicial killings.
Part of the banner read: “#EndSARS Memorial 2.0 Procession. In memory of those who were murdered on October 20, 2022, and those we lost to police brutality, we will walk and drive through the toll gate, honk our horns, sing and chant in unison through the toll gate, and wave our flags.”
Ayoyinka Oni, who spoke on the topic “ENDSARS Justice Now: Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied,” called for full compensation for the victims of the protests and said there should be no underhand payments.
- On the night of October 20, 2020, members of the Nigerian military opened fire on unarmed End SARS protesters at the Lekki toll booth in Lagos State, Nigeria.
- Amnesty International claimed that at least 12 protesters were killed during the shooting.
- A day after the incident, on October 21, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu initially denied reports of loss of life, but later admitted in an interview with a CNN reporter that “only two people were killed.”
- The investigative panel was initially set up in October 2020 by the Lagos state government to look into cases of alleged police brutality.
- On 21 October, the Federation of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) issued a statement explaining that the network downtime experienced during the massacre was the result of damage to fibre cables on the city’s major routes, resulting in congestion and poor network services.
- DJ Switch, a popular Nigerian DJ, live-streamed the event on Instagram during and after the shoot. In the video, he attempted to take a bullet out of the leg of a man who had a Nigerian flag tied around his leg.
- Nigerian disc jockey DJ Switch made a Livestream video of the shooting on his Instagram account.
- On November 18, a month after the incident, CNN aired a six-minute documentary on the shooting, the independent investigation showing the victims’ and eyewitness accounts, as well as geographic photographs of the victims’ families, as well as images of the shooting using timestamps.
- On 24 November, as part of its investigation into the shooting, CNN obtained and released CCTV footage from government surveillance cameras looking toward the toll gate presented to the Lagos Judiciary Panel investigating police brutality.
Trending on Social media
Victim demanding justice
Some victims of the shooting at the Lekki toll, who was present at the briefing, demanded justice and compensation from the government.
A widow, Ms. Ndifreke Ibanga, whose son was among those killed during the protest, said the death of her son left her family devastated.
Ibanga, who spoke through a relative of hers, said: “My son, Victor, disappeared after the protest at the Lekki toll. I only saw the photo of him on Twitter of him being one of those shot during the protest. His death has affected me and my children emotionally and psychologically because, since the death of my husband, my son, Víctor was the breadwinner of the family. All we want is justice and compensation.”
Another survivor of the Lekki tollbooth shooting, Mr. Samuel Ashaola, who was shot in the leg, said: “I was at the tollbooth taking part in the protest. On October 20, 2020, I was on the protest ground when we heard gunshots coming from the Lekki landfill area. I saw men in army uniforms with guns approaching where we were protesting.
- Sarbal Village: A hamlet in Kashmir waiting for development
- Farmers in MP face crop failure every year due to climate change
- Climate Change: Kishanganga Dam causes water concerns