Yesterday, several media outlets reported that Nigerians protesting against the infamous Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) were shot at by security forces. What is now being termed a “massacre” by many, occurred at Lekki Toll Gate shortly after the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, abruptly declared a 24-hour curfew in Lagos. Additionally, unknown men had been filmed removing CCTV cameras from the region prior to the shooting. While there has been no official death toll, many protesters were injured with gruesome images and videos depicting this circulating on social media. No official death toll has been recorded although one protester told the BBC that they personally witnessed at least 20 dead bodies. In response to last night’s tragic events, the Nigerian military has denied that they were responsible for shooting at the protesters with live ammunition.
According to Nigeria’s Premium Times, the spokesperson for the Nigerian military, Sagir Musa, said that the military had “nothing to do with the attack” as it was a “civil matter”. However, after having been confronted with video footage that some of the shooters were in fact soldiers, Musa simply responded by saying, “I am not aware.”
Additionally, the military cited the reported presence of the army at the protests as being “fake news” via their Twitter account.
As previously reported in our earlier coverage, neither President Muhammadu Buhari nor the Inspector General, Mohammed Adamu, have responded to the events at Lekki Toll Gate as yet. Additionally, International bodies such as the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have not released any statements condemning the recent violence against protesters. Furthermore, no African leaders have condemned the violence in Nigeria.
Public figures such as Hilary Clinton, Gabrielle Union, Burna Boy, Davido, Rihanna, Genevieve Nnaji and numerous others have spoken out against the continued police brutality against Nigerian youth.
I’m calling on @mbuhari and the @hqnigerianarmy to stop killing young #EndSARS protesters. #StopNigeriaGovernment
— Hillary Clinton (@Hillary Clinton)1603231913.0
#EndSARS We need everyone’s voice to amplify what is going on as we speak!! The world is watching https://t.co/Zk4Dg27IrU
— Gabrielle Union (@Gabrielle Union)1603223068.0
International Criminal Court: Petition for President Buhari to be charged before the ICC for crimes against humanit… https://t.co/ND7KDJQXoh
— Davido (@Davido)1603257183.0
We need names and pictures of everyone killed, they will soon say nobody died.
— Burna Boy (@Burna Boy)1603242345.0
Correct this immediately. It was an ambush! A massacre! A bloody genocide! #EndSARS https://t.co/G70DIzZFu0
— Genevieve Nnaji MFR (@Genevieve Nnaji MFR)1603238922.0