Nigeria

Lekki shootings: Amnesty International warns against cover-up

THE Amnesty International, on Wednesday, told the Federal Government not to attempt any move to cover up investigations into the Lekki tollgate shooting of some #EndSARS protesters by some soldiers.

Amnesty International said the victims of the shooting at Lekki tollgate last week Tuesday must get justice with the identification and diligent prosecution of the soldiers who shot into the crowd of protesters demonstrating against police brutality and extrajudicial killings in the country.

The organisation maintained that after monitoring

the #EndSARS protest, which

rocked the country for more

than a week, no fewer than 56

people were killed.

In a statement signed by the

media manager of Amnesty

International, Mr Isa Sanusi,

the organisation maintained

that available evidence from

photographs and video footage indicated that “Nigerian

Army vehicles left Bonny

Camp, a military base approximately a seven-minute drive

local time on October 20.”

According to the statement,

“footage then tracks the vehicles to the toll gate. At approximately 6:45 p.m., the Nigerian military opened fire on

the #EndSARS protesters who

were peacefully calling for an

end to police brutality. What

happened at Lekki tollgate 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? The initial denial 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. 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 organisation is still investigating the shooting, and

the reported removal of bodies of those killed by the military in an attempt to remove

evidence.”

It added that “the 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 tollgate

when the shootings occurred.

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 head east

along Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue – which changes its name

to the Lekki-Epe Expressway

– in the direction of the Lekki

tollgate. On this route, the

vehicles passed several international embassies and consulates, including the Japanese

Embassy and the Australian

High Commission.

“Further photographs and

footage capture the vehicles

arriving at the tollgate, 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.

“Amnesty International has

been monitoring developments across Nigeria since

the #EndSARS protest began

on October 8, 2020. Nigerians

have been taking 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 Nigerian police tasked with fighting violent crimes. 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,” the statement concluded

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