Tag Archives: Lekki Massacre

EndSARs: Gov’t threatens CNN over #LekkiMassacre accusations

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The protest started peacefully but soon degenerated into violence after it was hijacked by hoodlums.

The Federal government has vowed to punish the Cable Network News, CNN for carrying out unverified information from the controversial Lekki Toll Gate incident.

It also vowed not to spare any media organization both local and international that attempted to set Nigeria on fire through unverifiable reportage.

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed made the vow on Friday at a stakeholder’ meeting with the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON) held in Abuja.

The Minister, was reacting to the controversial report by the American Cable News Network, CNN which it said had acknowledged their letter of complaint and promised to probe same on its merit.

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He accused CNN of spreading fake news by switching casualty figures at Lekki Toll Gate so casually without a credible source, hence, its decision to write a letter to CNN asking it to use its own internal mechanism to probe its investigation.

Mohammed insisted that “the use of unverified videos, and the non-adherence to the basic tenets of journalism have combined to land the international broadcaster, CNN, in trouble”, saying that the station had been caught in the web of fake news and disinformation, after it relied heavily on videos it took from social media for a supposed exclusive investigation on the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate on Oct. 20th.

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He also stated that the station was found to be inconsistent, adding that “after tweeting, without a shred of evidence, from its verified handle on Oct. 23rd that soldier killed 38 peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on Oct. 20th, the same station now said only one person was killed – after a month of its investigation.”

His words: “It is baffling that an organization like CNN will rely on unauthenticated videos to carry out an investigation

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“More worrisome is that an international broadcaster like CNN will switch casualty figures so casually without a credible source. This is why we have written a letter to CNN asking it to use its own internal mechanism to probe its investigation.

“We have received an acknowledgement of our letter, saying the letter has been referred to CNN’s Editorial Team.

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We await the outcome of their probe, but that’s without prejudice to whatever we may decide to do as a government.

“We will not sit by and allow any news organization, local or foreign, to set Nigeria on fire with irresponsible and unprofessional reporting.

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“CNN did not have a reporter or cameraman at the Lekki Toll Gate on the night in question, yet it emphatically reported a hoax story.

Conversely, the BBC that had a reporter and an editor on ground reported that soldiers shot into the air, not at protesters. I will rather believe the person on the ground than the one who is thousands of kilometres away.

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“Since we sent our letter, CNN has been grasping at straws in desperation, to justify its inaccurate and unbalanced investigation.

But in the process, it is sinking more and more into professional infamy. Yesterday, Nov. 26th that is, in the clearest indication yet of the its confusion over the Lekki Toll Gate incident, CNN tried to clarify its tweet of Oct. 23rd by saying it never attributed the death toll of 38 to Amnesty International and that the tweet also did not make it clear that the death toll was for protests across the country.

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“Commentators on the tweet tried to redirect CNN to the issue: which is its tweet of Oct. 23rd in which it said ”At least 38 people were killed in Nigeria on Tuesday (Oct. 20th) when the military opened fire on peaceful protesters.” This is very unambiguous and CNN is exhibiting panic by seeking to clarify its tweet some 35 days later! Instead of engaging in such panic, CNN should come clean by admitting that it goofed badly on the Lekki Toll Gate incident.

“But the big lesson to draw from CNN’s faux pas is that it magnifies the failure or inadequacy of our own broadcast organizations.

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” In the wake of our spat with CNN, people are asking: Why didn’t our own broadcast stations take the lead in reporting the incident at Lekki? Why didn’t they take the lead in presenting an authentic narrative? Why must we allow the foreign broadcast stations, some of which didn’t even have correspondents on ground, to dictate the pace, thus misleading the world? These are questions begging for answers and I think for BON, this must form part of their review of the coverage of the incident.

Role of security agencies

On the role of the security agencies during and after the EndSARS protest, the Minister said they acted professionally as they also restrained themselves, which helped to save many lives, even in the face of attacks and provocation.

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“The security agencies, in particular the police and soldiers, acted within their rules of engagement. The reporting of the EndSARS protest has been skewed against the security agencies. While most reports have become fixated on the so-called massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate, only a few have highlighted the attacks and killings of security agents, as well as the destruction of public and private property. This is selective perception and it is condemnable.

” For the record, six soldiers and 37 policemen were killed all over the country during the crisis. Also, 196 policemen were injured;

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164 police vehicles were destroyed and 134 police stations burnt down. The killing of the policemen was particularly gruesome and dastardly. Yet, human rights organizations and the media have not given this the attention it deserved. Rather, they have remained fixated on the so-called massacre. It seems human rights do not matter for men and women in uniform. This is unfortunate and must be corrected. Please note that the violence also left 57 civilians dead, 269 private/corporate facilities burnt/looted/vandalized, 243 government dacilities burnt/vandalized and 81 government warehouses looted.”

Social media regulation

While reiterating government’s plan to regulate the social media, Mohammed assured that the administration has no plan to stifle free speech, neither does it have any intention of shutting down the internet but has decided to act to ensure a responsible use of social media.

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“Social media has come to stay, and those who use it responsibly have nothing to fear.But we cannot give the same assurance for those who weaponize social media.

“By the way, the issue of regulating social media content is generating debate around the world, so Nigeria is not an exception.

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N3m fine by NBC

On the N3m fine imposed on three television stations on the aftermath of EndSARs by National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for using unverified and dangerous information from social media, Mohammed said two of the stations have so far paid in full, while one has paid in part.

He however, appealed to broadcast stations to avoid using unverified information from social media, as this is fraught with danger.

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He insisted that despite the temptation, the stations must adhere strictly to the gate-keeping tradition instead of rushing to use materials that are not authenticated.

Recall with NoRM that last month witnessed an EndSARS protest by the youth, who were calling for an end to police brutality and the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

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The EndSARs protesters made five demands of: Immediate release of all arrested protesters.

ii) Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families.
iii) Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct within 10 days.

iv) In line with the new Police Act, psychological evaluation and retraining (to be confirmed by an independent body) of all disbanded SARS officers before they can be redeployed.
v) Increase police salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting the lives and property of citizens.

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The Federal Government however, while responding through the Inspector-General of Police announced the immediate disbandment of SARS across the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Also, on Oct. 12th: President Muhamadu Buhari addressed the nation, stating: ”The disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms in order to ensure that the primary duty of the police and other law enforcement agencies remains the protection of lives and livelihood of our people. We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts are brought to justice.

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#Newsworthy

EndSARs: Army speaks on repeating what happened at Lekki toll gate

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The army had maintained that blank bullets were used to disperse the protesters who were out on the streets during the time the Lagos state government imposed a curfew.

The Nigerian Army has promised to repeat the same action it took at the Lekki tollgate if such a situation arises again.

Recall with NoRM that soldiers had forcefully dispersed #EndSARS protesters who converged on the tollgate for 13 days and it triggered an outrage within and outside the country.

When he appeared before the panel set up to probe the incident, on Saturday, Ibrahim Taiwo, commander of the 81 division of the Nigerian Army, said given the same circumstance, the army would act in a similar to that of October 20, 2020.


#Newsworthy

EndSARs: CCTV unveils soldiers ‘arrived’ Lekki toll gate in truck.

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The footage showed that the scene was calm until about 6.43pm when people could be seen running towards the tollgate from the Oriental Hotel end.

The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Judicial Inquiry probing the alleged killing of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki tollgate on the night of October 20 on Saturday resumed the viewing of a CCTV footage submitted by the Lekki Concession Company, operator of the tollgate.

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Two minutes later, at 6.45pm, vehicles, with flashing headlights, presumably military vehicles, arrived on the scene. There were no fewer than seven of them.

At 6.53pm, about 10 minutes after the arrival of the military vehicles, the tollgate went into a blackout.

Two minutes later, at 6.55pm, one of the military vehicles drove through the tollgate to the other end where the crowd of protesters was gathered.


#Newsworthy…

EndSARs: AAC puts Sanwo-Olu on fire over #LekkiMassacre

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The governor has also denied reports that over 17 deaths were recorded during the incident, noting that only two persons died later as a result of gunshot wounds.

The African Action Congress, ACC, has asked Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State to account for the dead victims of the Lekki Shooting.

Recall with NoRM that officers of the Nigerian Army opened fire on unarmed #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.

However, the army has repeatedly denied the allegation, saying its operatives only fired blank bullets into the air, not at the protesters.

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But in a tweet via its Twitter page on Thursday, the opposition party said the governor lied to Lagosians that he has been to all morgues in the state and cannot find dead bodies.

The party noted that a CNN report showed that the army used live bullets on #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate.

According to the party, the Lagos governor must be held responsible for inviting the Nigerian Army to the scene of the protest and earlier denying that he has no idea that soldiers were at the toll gate. The AAC also mocked the governor and the Lagos state government for calling for the identification of missing persons.


#Newsworthy

EndSARs: Gov’t denies #LekkiMassacre amid CNN report

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Even the owners of the various social media platforms, including Facebook, are increasingly joining the call for content regulation.

The Federal Government has said that there was no massacre of demonstrators during the #EndSARS protest in Lekki in Lagos.

It said what is being portrayed so far was “social media massacre” or a “hoax massacre.”

It said it was a case of massacre without bodies.

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It asked international community not to be misled by posts on social media to impose sanctions on Nigeria.

It condemned CNN report on #EndSARS protest in Lekki and described it as “irresponsible journalism.”

It said CNN relied on unverified and doctored videos.

But the government said it will go ahead to regulate the social media in the country.

It said social media was used to guide arsonists and looters to certain properties.

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed, who made the government’s positions known at a briefing in Abuja, said the government was satisfied with the conduct of the military and security agencies during the #EndSARS protest.

He said soldiers and policemen deserve commendation for their roles during the protest.

Mohammed said: “While we await the Judicial Panel in Lagos to unravel what transpired at the Lekki Toll Gate, what we can say, based on testimonies available in the public space, is that the world may have just witnessed, for the very first time ever, a MASSACRE WITHOUT BODIES! Some have tagged it ‘social media massacre’.

“The testimony of Brig.-Gen, Ahmed Ibrahim Taiwo of the Nigerian Army before the Panel was compelling, and I am sure many of you have listened to or watched it.

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” The highlights, for those who may not have watched the testimony, are:

– Soldiers were deployed all over Lagos, including Lekki Toll Gate, after the other security agencies were overwhelmed on Oct. 20th 2020, upon the request of the state government.

– Before deployment, the soldiers were briefed on the Rules of Engagement, which they adhered to all through

– Soldiers at Lekki Toll Gate fired blank ammunitions into the air

– Blank ammunition cannot do any damage to the flesh, not to talk of killing anyone

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– Firing live ammunition into the crowd, as some have alleged, would have led to mass killing, which never happened.

The Minister asked countries that had made hasty judgment on #EndSARS protest to seek the truth.

He said it was regretful that some people and the international community have been calling for sanctions against Nigeria.

He added: “Sadly, the purveyors of fake news and disinformation succeeded in deceiving the world that indeed there was mass killing in Lekki, even when, till date, not a single body has been produced and not a single family or relative has come out to say their child or ward was killed at Lekki.

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“More surprising and irresponsible is the fact that some people have been calling for sanctions against Nigeria or against Nigerian government officials on the basis of a hoax. This is one of the dangers of fake news and disinformation.

” Once fake news is out, many run with it, without looking back, even when the truth is eventually revealed. We therefore want to use this opportunity to ask those who have alleged massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate to go to the Judicial Panel to present their evidence(s) to the world or simply admit that they have goofed.”

Mohammed insisted that the Federal Government will go ahead with the regulation of social media.

He said: “This development has reinforced the campaign against fake news and disinformation, which we launched in 2018. As a matter of fact, as far back as 2017, when we dedicated that year’s National Council on Information to the issue of fake news and disinformation, we had been expressing concerns on the dangers posed by irresponsible use of the new media platform. “The concerns culminated in the launch of the national campaign which I referred to earlier.

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” The social media was used to guide arsonists and looters to certain properties, both public and private. Pictures of persons, including some celebrities, who were supposedly killed at the Lekki Toll Gate by soldiers, were circulated widely, only for those persons to refute such claims or for the discerning to disprove such posts. As we have said many times, no responsible government will stand by and allow such abuse of social media to continue.

“The fake news/disinformation purveyors have latched on to our concerns to allege that the Federal Government is planning to shut down social media. No, we have no plans to shut down the social media.

” What we have always advocated, and what we will do, is to regulate the social media. Nigeria is not alone in this regard. The issue of social media regulation is an ongoing debate not just in Nigeria but around the world, including in the United States, which is the flag flyer of constitutional democracy.

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“Some respected opinion leaders have been playing to the gallery on the issue of social media regulation by making inciting and incendiary statements, while some other individuals and groups have been threatening fire and brimstone over the issue of social media regulation.

“What they have failed to understand is that the only reason we are even able to have this debate is because we have a country.

” If we allow the abuse of social media to precipitate uncontrolled internecine violence, the kind of which was narrowly averted during the EndSARS crisis, no one will remember or be able to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, for whatever purpose.

” It is incumbent upon us all, therefore, to strike a balance between free speech – which this Administration is committed to upholding – and fake news/disinformation, which it is determined to fight.”


#Newsworthy…

EndSARs: Chief of Army staff, Buratai blows hot at CNN

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However, CNN had released an investigative report showing how soldiers had shot at protesters on the fateful day.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has maintained that the Nigerian Army was professional in its conduct.

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Buratai made the remark in response to a report by CNN on the shooting of End SARS protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos State.

Recall that soldiers deployed to Lekki toll gate were accused of shooting and killing End SARS protesters at Lekki toll gate.

But, the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army had denied killing protesters at Lekki toll gate.

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Reacting to the report, Buratai said the Nigerian Army will never operate outside the rules of engagement.

He spoke while receiving members of the House of Representatives committee on Army at the Army headquarters on Wednesday.

According to Buratai: “Let me assure you and all Nigerians that the Nigerian Army is a professional Army. We follow our rules of engagement. Nigerians should feel safe.

“We abide by rules of engagement and the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.”


#Newsworthy…

EndSARs: More truth into #LekkiMassacre revealed by CNN

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Later, DJ Switch can be seen helping to extract a bullet lodged in another man’s thigh as he screams in agony. Someone in the crowd says, “you will live, you will not die.”

Sometime after midnight on October 21, Elisha Sunday Ibanga answered a phone call from his older brother’s number.

The person on the other end of the line — a stranger — broke the news that Ibanga’s brother, Victor, had been shot dead at the Lekki Toll Gate, in Lagos, Nigeria, where he had been peacefully protesting against police brutality earlier that night.

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“The person told me that the police took his body away,” Ibanga, 24, told CNN.

An eyewitness to Victor Sunday Ibanga’s death told CNN the 27-year-old entrepreneur was shot in the head during the protest.

CNN has obtained and geolocated a photograph of Victor’s body lying in a pool of blood and wrapped in the white and green of the Nigerian standard — one of the same flags gripped by fellow protesters earlier in the evening as they sang the country’s national anthem. Ibanga confirmed the photograph is of his brother.

The Ibangas are one of several families yet to locate the bodies of their missing loved ones — protestors at the toll gate — who dozens of eyewitnesses say were shot at, first by members of the Nigerian Army and then hours later by police. Eyewitnesses told CNN they saw the army remove a number of bodies from the scene.

What happened on October 20, and into the early hours of October 21, at the eight-lane Lekki Toll Gate — a key piece of Lagos’ road network — has stunned the country.

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The protesters, who were present have told CNN it was a “massacre” with multiple people killed and dozens wounded. But local authorities have downplayed that account.

Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, admitted to CNN that footage showed uniformed soldiers firing on peaceful protesters but claimed only two demonstrators were killed. But, he then said there was “not a scratch of blood” at the toll gate when he visited. The governor said no families had approached authorities saying they were missing relatives.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the army denied any involvement, describing reports of the incident as “fake news,” before backtracking and saying that soldiers were present but fired their weapons in the air and used blanks, not live rounds.

CNN’s calls to the Nigerian Army have not been returned. But on November 14, during a judicial inquiry into the shooting, army representative, Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo, said, “There’s no way officers and men will kill their brothers and sisters. I repeat no way. We have those who constantly seek to drive a wedge between us and between the citizens of Nigeria…”

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The army also said at the hearing that it was the governor, who called soldiers to the scene because the police were overrun. The governor has denied this, saying he does not have the authority to call in the army. The army has continued to restate that they did not fire live rounds.

But an investigation by CNN into the disputed events has cast doubt on authorities’ shifting and changing statements.

Evidence of bullet casings from the scene match those used by the Nigerian Army when shooting live rounds, according to current and former Nigerian military officials. Verified video footage — using timestamps and data from the video files — shows soldiers, who appear to be shooting in the direction of protesters. And accounts from eyewitnesses establish that after the army withdrew, a second round of shooting happened later in the evening.

Since Elisha Sunday Ibanga learned of his brother’s death, he has been visiting hospitals in a desperate search for his remains.

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“My mother, my sisters, all my family are in prayer, just to see if we can find out and know where my brother’s dead body is,” he said.

The bodies of other protesters are nowhere to be found.

Peace Okon, 24, hasn’t seen her younger brother Wisdom, 18, since he went to the protest the night of the shooting.

“He just came back from work on that Tuesday, ate his food and went there,” Okon told CNN.

She started worrying when he didn’t arrive home that night. By the next morning, Okon was out searching for him. “I’ve gone to hospitals, I’ve gone to police stations, I’ve gone to everywhere. I can’t find him,” she said.

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Her brother had only moved to Lagos a few weeks before the protest — Okon had helped him find a job as a cleaner at a bank. She says he didn’t know anyone at the protest and had never been to one before.

Okon said she wants the Nigerian authorities to tell her if her brother is alive and detained or dead.

The shootings at Lekki Toll Gate followed weeks of “#EndSARS” protests against police brutality that had burst onto the streets of cities across Nigeria.

For almost a fortnight, thousands of young Nigerians mostly under 30 — a demographic that makes up 40% of the country’s population — protested, with calls for an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a police unit widely and repeatedly accused of kidnapping, harassment and extortion.

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Police had agreed to disband the controversial unit but protests continued. It would be the fourth time it was being disbanded.

There were peaceful marches, candlelight vigils, multi-faith prayer sessions and DJ performances that attracted backing and solidarity from celebrities, the Nigerian Diaspora and supporters around the world.

The movement quickly widened beyond police brutality to other grievances — capturing the frustrations of a young population demanding an end to bad governance in the oil-rich country.

Lekki, a relatively affluent suburb of Lagos, and the toll gate became a focal point of the movement.

However, about 10 days into the protests, the demonstrations were hijacked by “thugs and sponsored hoodlums” who attacked protesters, causing deaths and injuries, according to Amnesty International Nigeria.

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In response, on October 20, hours before the shooting, Governor Sanwo-Olu imposed a strict curfew starting at 4pm following looting and vandalism in other parts of the state.

It was later moved to 9pm to allow commuters to get home. The timeline for when the curfew was imposed has become a point of contention between the governor and military. The army said their soldiers were unaware of the change to the later time, according to the army spokesperson’s testimony to the eight-person judicial panel on November 14.

For 24 hours, only essential service providers were to be allowed on the streets of the 20-million strong city.

Testimony from dozens of eyewitnesses and family members interviewed by CNN and a forensic examination of hours of video and dozens of photographs captured before, during and after the two shooting incidents show how a fledgling protest movement was all but extinguished by the very thing Nigerians were demonstrating against.

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Less than three hours after the original curfew time came into effect, army trucks left the Bonny Camp barracks on Victoria Island and headed towards the toll gate plaza and the protesters, according to videos reviewed by CNN.

Two eyewitnesses told CNN they saw soldiers arriving in a Toyota Hilux pickup truck with “OP Awatse” written on it — the name of a joint military task force that operates in Lagos State.

Videos examined by CNN show the army trucks approaching the protesters from both sides of the toll gate — barricading them in.

DJ Switch, a local musician whose real name is Obianuju Catherine Udeh, was streaming live on Instagram when it all happened and the shooting began.

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The shooting started almost immediately, with no warning given. Panic ensued as protesters attempted to flee.

“There was a guy that was running, and he just… he fell, and we looked at him. He was shot in the back,” DJ Switch, 29, told CNN, as she tried to talk during an interview while crying.

“Please explain to me how, in which part of the world, do you go to a protest with live bullets,” she said.

From multiple videos, CNN has pieced together a timeline that shows that shooting by the army lasted from 6:43pm until at least 8:24pm, according to video evidence.

The videos capturing some of those 101 minutes tell a story of terror and chaos.

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They show graphic injuries and people bleeding on the ground.

One eyewitness, Sarah, whose last name we’re not publishing for her safety, told CNN that the soldiers shot in the air but also directly at protesters.

“They pointed their guns at us and they started shooting,” she said. “They were shooting in the air, they were shooting at us, they were shooting everywhere.”

Some chanted: “We are peaceful protesters” and “End Sars, we no go gree [pidgin for we will not agree, or give in].”

“They’re shooting, they’re shooting,” another person screams in one of the videos. Cries of “Na lie, na lie [exclamations of disbelief in pidgin]” can also be heard.

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In several of the videos, reviewed and verified by CNN, some of the protesters can be seen carrying bodies, the flashlights on their phones the only thing illuminating the darkness as the sound of ambulance sirens wail in the background.

It is not known whether these were dead or injured protesters.

In another, there are several injured people, some on the ground bleeding while defiant protesters continued to wave Nigerian flags.

Injured people whom CNN has confirmed were present at the toll gate started arriving in local hospitals — carried by civilians — from 7:19pm while the shooting was still ongoing, according to videos analyzed by CNN.

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CNN has also seen and verified footage from one man who used his car as a makeshift ambulance and transported people to hospital.

Separately, Dr Ayo Aranmolate, executive medical director at Grandville Medical Centre, told CNN he and his colleagues received around 15 injured people that night with various gunshot wounds and cuts. None of the people they treated died, he added.

“We referred some for treatment to other hospitals,” Dr Aranmolate said. “One of the victims had to have his leg amputated.”

The army has denied that anyone was taken to hospital with gunshot wounds, and that they only shot into the air.

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Speaking in front of the judicial panel, the army spokesman, Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo, continued to deny that anyone was shot.

Multiple eyewitnesses told CNN that ambulances were prevented from reaching the scene by the authorities.

A video filmed at 8:49pm, according to metadata, shows ambulance workers in a van at the scene saying they are unable to get through.

When contacted by CNN to share the findings of this investigation, a Lagos State Government spokesman declined to comment. “Talking about that subject now will be sub-judicial since the matter is already before a panel of inquiry. Until the panel concludes its investigation, the subject will not be open to any discussion or comment by any State official,” the spokesperson said.

DJ Switch said she wanted people to see what was happening which is why she started broadcasting.

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“I didn’t want anybody to come on and twist the story. I wanted people to see. So, I just went live.”

At one point during the broadcast, there were attempts to resuscitate a man in red clothing who had passed out.

As the live broadcast ends, people are still trying to apply CPR on the man in red, while DJ Switch can be heard saying, “this guy is dying.”

DJ Switch told CNN that protesters lifted bodies with bullet wounds and put them at the soldiers’ feet.

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“I said, why are you killing us? Why are you doing this,” she said. “He expressly told me: ‘I am acting on orders from above.'”

CNN has examined bullet casings found at the scene and confirmed with current and former Nigerian military sources that the bullet casings match those used by the army. Two ballistics experts have also confirmed with CNN that the shape of the bullet casings indicate they used live rounds, which contradicts the army’s claim they fired blanks.

CNN has verified that bullets fired at Lekki toll gate are from live ammunition. This one was manufactured in Serbia in 2005, and is currently in use by the Nigerian army.

And working with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, CNN has established that several of the bullets from the Lekki Toll Gate originated from Serbia. Export documents CNN has seen show that Nigeria purchased weaponry from Serbia almost every year between 2005 and 2016.

After the army withdrew from the scene, members of the police, including the SARS police unit — disbanded by authorities on 11 October — moved in, according to multiple eyewitnesses CNN spoke with.

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In a video obtained by CNN and geolocated to Lekki Toll Gate at 2:36am, one eyewitness, Legend, whose second name we’re not publishing for his safety, can be seen with the Nigerian flag around his head saying, “…my hand is broken, my leg is broken, and police are still shooting at us.”

“They are shooting anything that moves outside…Stay safe through the night. And if I don’t make it through the night let it be known that I died fighting for our freedom, for what we believe in.”

Legend, who survived, told CNN his father was a police officer and that he recognized the SARS uniform.

About 200 protesters remained at the toll gate when witnesses say police and SARS arrived, he added.

“I couldn’t count how many dead because I was running for my life,” Legend said. “If I stood my ground five more seconds, I would be dead.”

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While CNN has not been able to independently verify that SARS members were present, multiple eyewitnesses said they saw police officers, accompanied by officers from the unit, at the scene after the army left.

A Lagos State Police spokesman declined to comment because of the ongoing panel investigation. But police have denied any use of force against protesters on Twitter, saying, “….our police officers never resorted to use of unlawful force or shooting at the protesters.”

The widespread looting and damage that occurred across Lagos in the aftermath of the Lekki toll gate shooting has led to the authorities clamping down on people who took part in the protests.

Many feel they are being scapegoated for taking part in peaceful protests — wrongly blamed for the looting — and fear has descended on the movement since the shooting.

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Moe Odele, a prominent lawyer, who was giving legal advice to demonstrators arrested during the protests, says she was recently prevented from leaving the country after her passport was seized. Odele told CNN that her passport has since been returned.

The country’s central bank has obtained a 90-day court order freezing the accounts of those who took part in the demonstrations, according to media reports, while a journalist, who covered the protests was arrested and detained for five days before being freed on bail.

Several eyewitnesses have fled the country, while others are living in safe houses. Some told CNN they were offered money to recant their initial testimonies.

CNN has seen some of the messages received, though it is unclear who is sending them.

“We’re hiding because our lives are in danger,” an eyewitness named Sarah told CNN. “We can’t go out, our jobs are on hold right now, and it’s really sad because we did nothing wrong.”

“All we did was ask for change.”


#Newsworthy…

EndSARs: Only blank bullets were fired at Lekki toll gate – Army insist

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He also insisted that the military only fired into the air and not directly at the #EndSARS protesters.

The Nigerian Army has insisted that only blank bullets containing gunpowder were fired at the Lekki Tollgate area of Lagos State on October 20.

Commander of the 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Brigadier Ahmed Taiwo, made this known on Saturday when he appeared before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up in the state to investigate cases of police brutality.

While explaining that the blank bullets cannot cause any damage to the flesh, Brigadier Taiwo said if real bullets were indeed used, one bullet had the potency to kill three persons at one shot


#Newsworthy…

EndSARs: We weren’t able to cover Lekki Shooting – Concession co says CCTV went off.

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The army initially denied involvement in the shooting, saying its soldiers were not at the scene.

Managing Director of Lekki Concession Company, Abayomi Omamuwasan, has informed the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry that the Closed-Circuit Television camera of the company did not capture the shooting of peaceful #ENDSARS protesters by the Nigerian Army.

He informed the panel that the CCTV camera stopped recording due to the vandalism of some equipment and fire outbreak at the toll gate.

Noble Reporters Media had reported that Omamuwasan had earlier submitted a hard drive to the panel, saying it contained the incident that happened on October 20, 2020.

While further testifying before the panel, he disclosed that the CCTV stopped recording around 8pm and did not capture the shootings.

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He also said the company had three surveillance cameras located at Sandfill, Ikoyi Bridge and one at Chevron.

“The surveillance camera didn’t capture the shooting.

“It stopped recording around 8pm,” Omamuwasan told the panel.

He added that the fire outbreak at the Ikoyi Bridge affected the CCTV cameras and it stopped recording.

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Explaining the reason for the power outage, he insisted that the company complied with the curfew and asked staff to leave in adherence with the directive of the state government.

He added that the company withdrew its staff from the toll gate following the takeover of the toll gate by the protesters.

Recall with Noble Reporters Media that on that fateful day, soldiers opened fire on peaceful #ENDSARS protesters, killing not less than a dozen protesters with many sustaining bullet wounds.

It, however, admitted that soldiers were at the toll gate, revealing they were drafted on the orders of the state government.


#Newsworthy…

EndSARs: Sanwo olu orders lekki billboard be switched off – Tinubu.

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The statement informed that the board was switched off based on the governor’s curfew request as they had no idea what was going to happen to the unarmed #EndSARS protesters.

The management of Loatsad Promomedia Limited led by Seyi Tinubu has cleared the air on report making the round that the billboard at the Lekki Toll gate was deliberately put out by the agency.

Lekki Toll gate was where the Tuesday massacre happened with some lives lost and many injured.

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A statement from the advertising agency owned by Seyi Tinubu, one of the sons of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Wednesday said the billboard was switched off on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s order.

It reiterated that the agency had lent its support to the #EndSARS movement since the peaceful demonstrations began across the state.

The statement reads further “When we started in 2014, we had a plan to change the perception of African start-ups in the global space. We believed as Africans, we could create something great and we set out with a N4m loan from a bank and we started trading, going from door to door begging for work and relentlessly grew the business employing and empowering over 200 Nigerians today directly or indirectly. We have supported many upcoming businesses, artists, people in need as giving back to our community has always been our passion (all this can be verified).

“All of our achievements thus far have come the from hard work, sweat and determination of our work force and everything Loatsad has been doing has been open, all taxes are remitted and payments to agencies and regulatory bodies have been timely, so we can be proud to say we are contributing the growth of the industry and Nation.

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“When the “EndSars” and “say no to police brutality” protests started from day one we wholly supported the movement and used all our platforms to promote the messages (I believe the promoters can verify this information) as we believed in the cause.

“On Tuesday when the curfew was announced we heeded the governors warnings and didn’t want our staff in any danger, hence by 3pm our staff had been ordered to leave the site and the board was switched off based on the governors curfew request.

“We had no idea what was going to happen and we feel the same anguish, pain and shock at the events that unfolded and our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and families of this ungodly act.

“We believe in this movement and that it was the start of the change our generation needed to move our country forward and we will continue to support the youths of this great nation.”


#Newsworthy…

EndSARs: Ghana leader, Akufo-Addo reacts to killings in Nigeria.

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The Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), stated this on his Twitter account while reacting to the shooting at Lekki tollgate, Lagos State.

Ghana President, Nana Akufo-Addo, on Wednesday noted that violence is not the way out to the demands of protesters in Nigeria.

“I join all well-meaning persons in calling for calm and the use of dialogue in resolving the #ENDSARS impasse in Nigeria.”

“I have spoken with President Muhammadu Buhari, who is committed to this end and has begun the processes that will lead to reform.”

“To the families who have lost their loved ones, I express my sincere condolences and I wish the injured a speedy recovery,’’ Akufo-Addo said.


#Newsworthy…

EndSARs: #LekkiMassacre, a reflection of Nigeria @ 60 – Gbajabiamila.

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He called for thorough investigation into the incident that led to the death of some innocent Nigerians.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has condemned the attack on protesters of End SARS at the Lekki tollgate on Tuesday night.

Gbajabiamila noted that the Incident is a reflection that Nigeria has not grown despite celebrating 60 years weeks back.

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The Speaker in a statement released through his media aide, Lanre Lasisi, said, “Events in my home State Lagos, last night (Tuesday) and up until this afternoon (Wednesday), have left my heart heavy and my spirit disturbed.”

“After sixty years, our democracy should have grown beyond the point where conflicting visions of nationhood result in violence on the streets and blood on the ground.”

“It is unavoidably and painfully clear that there were a number of casualties as a result of gunfire at the Lekki Toll Gate.”

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“Therefore, there needs to be a quick and thorough investigation to determine the facts of what happened last night in Lagos. Our nation urgently needs and the Nigerian people deserve an accounting of the acts that led to the events of last night”.

“I urge for calm whilst we get a truer picture of events.”

“In Lagos and everywhere else, too much blood has already been spilt in our country, let there be no more.”

“May God bless and keep you all. And may God bless and keep our Federal Republic of Nigeria”.


#Newsworthy…

EndSARs: Ooni of Ife calls for calm; frowns at ‘the genocide.’

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Ooni in a statement released through his media aide, Moses Olafare, called on the Federal Government and protesters to calm down at this moment.

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, on Wednesday condemned the attack on End SARS protesters at Lekki tollgate in Lagos State.

The monarch who noted that he would lead other traditional rules to meet with the Federal Government and organisers of the protest, added that the killing of the protesters is disheartening and regrettable.

The statement read in part: “Tension has risen on both sides. It’s time to calm down and allow traditional rulers, as fathers of the Nation to lead the way to peace and restoration of trust.”

“We must find amicable solutions even though this Lekki Toll Gate attack, has regrettably eroded the trust needed to establish dialogue and ensure a civic process for resolving the crises. We must not be tired.”

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“Our political leadership must immediately investigate the circumstances that led to the avoidable confrontation and consequent loss of lives to swiftly fish out the unlawful attackers who must be made to face the law.”

“We need to manage the process of listening to them and working with them to jointly arrive at the new Nigeria of our collective dreams, a dream that President Muhammadu Buhari has recognised as a statesman and our president.”

“There is no doubt the exploitation of the protests by criminals attacking prisons, police stations and public facilities put the government on edge and might have led to the military option, but it’s important to separate hoodlums committing these heinous crimes from protesters gathered in a specific location to draw attention to their legitimate demands.”

“There is a clear difference between the criminal hoodlums who have begun to hijack the hitherto peaceful protests and the patriotic Nigerian youths who were daily converging at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos and selected locations in other states including Abuja FCT in line with global best practices of protest gathering.”


#Newsworthy…

EndSARs: Reno Omokri attack Buhari after Lekki Massacre.

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Reno further stated that some of the protesters that were killed on Tuesday paid the tax used by the Federal Government to rehabilitate the terrorists.

Former aide to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri has condemned the killings of protesters at the Lekki tollgate on Tuesday night.

The former presidential aide in a post on his Twitter account noted that President Muhammadu Buhari takes time to rehabilitate Bolo Haram terrorists but uses force on the End SARS Protesters.

He wrote, “This same government rehabilitates hardened Boko Haram terrorists and demands that we surrender land for ranching or face death.”

“Some of those killed at the the #LekkiMassacre of peaceful, #EndSARS protesters, paid the tax that enables Buhari rehabilitate his beloved Boko Haram!”


#Newsworthy…

EndSARs: See what Wizkid asks Buhari, Osinbajo, IGP to do after Lekki Massacre.

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Wizkid in a statement on his Twitter handle on Wednesday, said the leaders have failed Nigerians in their expected duties and responsibilities, describing them as incompetent.

Nigerian music star, Ayo Balogun more popularly known by his stage name, Wizkid has called for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari over the #EndSARS rocking Nigeria.

The entertainer said the Nigerian leader has failed the people of the country and called on him, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as well as the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu to resign.

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He accused them of incapability to handle and respond adequately to the #EndSARS protests which has continued to spread across the country.

He tweeted: “@MBuhari you are a failure! Old and incompetent! Step down! We don’t want you, your Vice President and your IG! Resign!

Meanwhile, the presidency has appealed for calm and understanding from Nigerians as regards the shootings by security operatives on peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate plaza in Lagos State.

@newsworthywriter


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