“They Came to Kill Us, Lecca Toll Gate” – Survivor attacks the Nigerian army for denying soldiers fired on protesters.
October 20 was the 10th day that Clara, a 24-year-old financial auditor, woke up at 6 a.m. (05:00 GMT) and headed towards the crowd at the giant Lekki Toll Gate to protest the brutality. the police.
The site turned into a place of protests, celebrations and prayers when thousands of young people, mostly young people, blocked one of Lagos’s main thoroughfares. After several days of the city’s closure, protests in many areas began to turn violent, and authorities have imposed a curfew from 4:00 pm (3:00 pm GMT).
Clara and some of her friends in the crowd decided to defy order despite threats of possible reprisals.
“We wanted to make sure it was a peaceful protest,” he insists. “We collected all the stones on the floor, we removed all the sticks on the floor, we made sure that no one was selling alcohol so that it would not affect the mood.” tall. “At about 2:00 pm, I saw people in orange clothes pulling out CCTV cameras,” says the young woman.
One of our guys came up to them and asked what they were doing and they said they were taking out the cameras because they didn’t want anyone to steal or break them.
“The toll booth company insisted that the cameras were only moved to scan license plates. But Clara is adamant. “These weren’t license plate cameras, they were at the top of the toll station. “This is a lie,” he says. As night fell, Clara realized that the giant electronic billboard over the site and the street lights had been turned off. “Only when it got dark, we saw that there was no light. “, He says.
She and a few others went to ask the toll station workers to turn the lights back on, but they insisted it was an order from their boss. “That’s when I started hearing gunfire,” says Clara. “I saw five army vans in total. Two in the back and three in the front, all shot, ”he continues. After the first wave of executions, “there was blood everywhere, people were screaming.”
“There were several people on the floor, some were moving, some were not moving,” says Klara. “We just ran. I saw a woman asking for help screaming in Yoruba, “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die.” “Some people brought us two wounded. There were still a lot of shootings and I tried to call an ambulance, “he says.” A group of soldiers came up to us and we started shouting: “Why are you killing us, we are one, we are brothers!” “After the first one. a wave of executions “there was blood everywhere, people were shouting”
“There were several people on the floor, some were moving, some were not moving,” says Klara. “We just ran. I saw a woman asking for help screaming in Yoruba, “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die.” Then the break ended and new skirmishes began. “This time there were army men and other people who looked like the police,” he says. “Shooting started again from somewhere, and I saw tear gas.” People tried desperately to escape from the scene. Some hid in the bushes. Others dived into the waters of a nearby lagoon. It was only around 2.30 am (01.30 GMT) that the sound of gunfire finally stopped.
Echoing the accounts of other witnesses, Clara says she saw soldiers returning ambulances and loading the bloody body of at least one person into a military vehicle. “I can’t tell if he was dead or injured, but he didn’t move anymore,” he says. “I don’t know how many bodies they took, all I can say is that I saw it.” A week after that terrible night, Clara says she feels “traumatized.”
The protesters hoped for a “better Nigeria”. “This time we put everything aside and with one voice spoke out against police brutality,” he says. “It’s sad that we had a protest to ask us to live, but they still came to kill us.”