Human rights group, Amnesty International has asked the Federal Government not to cover up the shooting at the Lekki Toll Gate during the #EndSARS protests but rather bring to justice those involved.
In its latest report published on Wednesday, the rights group released details of the timeline of events from when the protests started on October 20, 2020.
“Amnesty International is again calling on Nigerian authorities to bring to justice those behind the shooting and to protect those who are exercising their right to freedom of assembly,” the report read.
“The organization is still investigating the shooting and the reported removal of bodies of those killed by the military in an attempt to remove evidence.”
The rights group noted that it had been monitoring developments across the country since the #EndSars protest began on October 8.
“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,” the group added.
“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?”
According to the Country Director of Amnesty International, Osai Ojigho, “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.
“Many people are still missing since the day of the incident, and credible evidence shows that the military prevented ambulances from reaching the severely injured in the aftermath.”
Tracking the military’s movements
The human rights group equally said it tracked the military’s movements before the incident as narrated below:
Amnesty International’s Crisis Response experts investigated and verified social media videos and photographs that confirm the Nigerian security forces were present at the Lekki Toll Gate when the shootings occurred.
At 6:29pm local time in Lagos, two military vehicles were filmed leaving Bonny Camp on videos shared on social media.
Later footage shows four vehicles with flashing lights in a convoy, and they appear to be vehicles used by the Nigerian military and police.
The same vehicles headed east along Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue – which changes its name to the Lekki-Epe Expressway – in the direction of the Lekki Toll Gate.
On this route, the vehicles pass several international embassies and consulates, including the Japanese Embassy and the Australian High Commission.
Further photographs and footage capture the vehicles arriving at the toll gate, before the peaceful protest is disrupted by men in military uniform and gunfire is heard.
As night time descended, protesters continued to film and share videos of the shootings. Later in the evening, videos of the victims were also shared on social media.
Protests Against Police Brutality
Nigerians had taken to the streets, peacefully demanding an end to police brutality, extrajudicial executions and extortion by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigeria Police Force tasked with fighting violent crimes.
According to Amnesty International, at least 56 people have died in the nation since the protests began.
In multiple cases, it added, security forces used excessive force in an attempt to control or stop the protests, noting that based on its investigations, the protests had been peaceful until force was used.