Truth About The Shooting That Happened at Lekki Toll Gate by Alexander Ubani
Events of the past few days especially the globally publicized shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at Lekki toll gate has left traumatic scars in my memory and that of many other Nigerians.
However, the federal government and the Nigerian army have been working hard to disabuse the minds of people into thinking that such a thing never happened. The federal government of Nigeria and the Nigerian army have over the past few days continued a media campaign at gaslighting this very issue, creating doubts in the minds of people using paid influencers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to make them believe that the shooting didn’t happen.
This persuasive power of the media which they have grabbed with effrontery can only suceed in the minds of those who didn’t watch the livestreamed video of a popular Nigerian Disc Jockey who was at the scene of the shooting.
While the families of the protesters who died from the shooting continue to wallow in pain, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari chose not to speak about the shooting, and neither did he send condolences during his national broadcast.
This is the toughest night of our lives as forces beyond our direct control have moved to make dark notes in our history, but we will face it and come out stronger.
I’ve just concluded visits to hospitals with victims of this unfortunate shooting incident at Lekki . pic.twitter.com/r5idAn9Pxw
— Babajide Sanwo-Olu (@jidesanwoolu) October 21, 2020
Even with clear evidence, the Nigerian army has continued to deny that its men were at Lekki toll gate during the shooting. Can an Instagram video by a reputable figure like DJ Switch be photoshopped too?
My name is Alexander Thandi Ubani and I am going to fact-check some of these issues and tell the truth about Lekki shooting the government doesn’t want you to know.
Were soldiers at the scene of the shooting?
First, we begin by saying it loud and clear that soldiers were at Lekki toll gate during the time eyewitnesses said shots were fired at protesters. This was confirmed by Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu during BBC’s Newshour programme. He said that there was a consensus that security operatives wouldn’t be at the scene till after 10.pm. But, soldiers disobeyed his directive and went to confront protesters. This is contrary to Nigerian military’s position that none of its men were at the scene of the shooting. The military had dubbed reports of its men at the scene of the shooting as ‘FAKE NEWS’. With the governor’s confirmation, it is now clear that the military was the one spreading fake news.
Were soldiers at the Lekki toll gate during the shooting?
The answer is a capital YES. Governor Sanwo-Olu confirmed it.
Did soldiers open fire on protesters?
The answer is a resounding YES – according to eyewitnesses and livestreamed video of DJ Switch.
Did people die or get injured from the shooting?
The answer is a loud YES. Many are being treated at different hospitals as confirmed by Lagos state governor. Over 15 bodies were counted by a popular dj, DJ Switch. Lagos state government has confirmed two deaths.
Were billboards switched off during the shooting?
Yes. Billboards which supplied light at the protest venue were switched off.
Has anyone been held responsible?
No. The military denied being at the scene of the incident. It claimed videos were photoshopped even when the governor confirmed that soldiers were at the scene under whose order he didn’t know.
Morning after the shooting
In the morning after the night of the shooting, Governor Sanwo-Olu visited victims, saying that the shooting was unfortunate. He looked totally shocked and disappointed while announcing that at least, 25 persons were wounded during the shooting. In an updated Twitter post, he said it was sad to announce that two persons had died from the shooting. One died as a result of “blunt force trauma to the head”.
There were questions raised about the removal of CCTV cameras and the switching off of billboards that provided light at the protest ground. Governor Sanwo-Olu said that the cameras were not removed. On the issue of switching off billboards, Seyi Tinubu, son of Bola Tinubu, the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, whose company controls billboards at the protest venue said that the billboards were switched off in obedience to the curfew order given by the governor.
15 dead bodies were counted at the scene of shooting
The most authoritative source of information concerning the shooting is Nigerian disc jockey, DJ Switch. Switch was live at the scene of the shooting the moment soldiers stormed Lekki toll gate and began shooting at protesters. In fact, she livestreamed the shooting on Instagram with thousands watching in shock, fearing for her life. Her account is the most authentic and reliable source of evidence against those who murdered innocent protesters at Lekki toll gate. She put her life on the line to gather evidence and showed to the world that the shooting was perpetrated by soldiers under an order to eliminate protesters they believe were headstrong and bent on giving the government a hard time.
It is not rocket science to know that the switching off of billboards to shield bloodthirsty soldiers from being recognised are all intertwined in the agenda of the soulless beings who authorized the massacre of the protesters. However, DJ Switch’s videos and evidence of bullet shells gathered at the protest ground during the shooting leaves no one in doubt that coldblooded Nigerian soldiers are responsible for the shooting that has seen as many as 15 people dead.
In a video update on Friday October 23rd, Switch against threats to her life revealed that she and others at the scene counted 15 dead bodies. Not just that, the military officers also took away dead bodies under the guise of giving them treatment without the protesters knowing that it was an alleged ploy to clear evidence that might implicate them. According to her, police officers joined the military men in shooting at unarmed protesters. She further opened up that after the shooting, the security operatives teargassed them. Switch also showed off the bullet shells she got from the scene of the shooting.
Switch who was traumatised by the incident informed her followers that she has been getting threat messages after livestreaming the shooting. She added that she had to go treat herself after realizing that she was also injured during the shooting. Switch asked President Muhammadu Buhari to order the release of the bodies carted away by the murderous soldiers so that the families of the bereaved can bury their loved ones.
doctor who attended to gunshot opens up
On Friday, October 22nd, a new evidence emerged corroborating reports of the shooting by security operatives at helpless Lekki toll gate protesters. A popular Nollywood actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde had made an insensitive post on Twitter asking people to stop sensationalizing the shooting while expressing doubt as to whether anyone actually died from the massacre. Although her tweet got her serious bashing on Twitter, however it did serve a useful purpose because it made some people to come out with more evidence about the shooting.
She said that a medical doctor at Doren Hospital, Lekki corroborated online reports about the shooting at Lekki toll gate.
Omotola while posting the video showing the medical doctor with victims lying on hospital beds, demanded answers from the government. No longer doubting the shooting, she asked to know who ordered the shooting of innocent protesters by soldiers.
In the video shared on her Twitter page, the doctor who works with Doren hospital said that a victim of the shooting died from gunshot wound to the heart. He also stated that many of the victims were brought to the hospital and attended to.
In the same vein, a popular media personality working for multichoice, Ik Osakioduwa confirmed that victims of the shooting were yet to receive proper medical care as bullets lodged in their bodies are yet to be removed due to unavailability of x-ray machines. He begged on Twitter for help asking his fans to help in getting a functional x-ray machine to save lives of the victims.
what the army and government say
The Nigerian military has continued to deny the shooting. In fact, the military claimed that videos posted on social media about the shooting were photoshopped. It denied that its men were at the scene of the shooting the night it happened.
Interestingly, the federal government refused to acknowledge the shooting. President Muhammadu Buhari in his national broadcast on Friday did not mention the Lekki shooting and neither did he send condolences to the families of the bereaved. In a later update, one of the presidential aides, Femi Adesina while trying to justify Buhari’s refusal to mention the shooting, said the matter is under investigation and mentioning it would be presumptive.
However, the government of Lagos state has taken a different approach. While the federal government feel good by not mentioning the shooting, the Governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has visited victims of the shooting, announced compensation and condemned the massacre. Sanwo-Olu said he never gave any order for soldiers to confront protesters let alone shoot at them point blank. He commiserated with the family of those who lost their loved ones in the shooting.
widespread condemnation, activist call, international response
Widespread condemnation has continued to trail the massacre of innocent protesters by bloodthirsty soldiers. International musicians like Beyonce, Kanye West, Meek Mill, Cardi B, Nicki Minaj and a host of others have condemned the shooting. Footballers are not left out. Odion Ighalo, Arsenal football club, Victor Osimhen and many others have also expressed shock while condemning the shooting.
Interestingly, the international community are not left out. From Amnesty International, African Union, the Economic Community of West African states to the United Nation, European Union, International Criminal Court, US, UK, Canada, Ghana and many other countries have all condemned the use of force against unarmed protesters. While stressing that peaceful protest is an internationally recognised right of any individual or group, they all pointed accusing fingers at Buhari demanding for immediate prosecution of all the security operatives involved in the shooting.
Nigerian filmmaker’s shooting experience
Nigerian filmmaker, Ideh Chukwuma while sharing his own personal encounter during the shooting, said he took at least 13 #EndSARS protesters to the hospital after they were shot by soldiers. Speaking to Premium Times, Chukwuma said he wasn’t at the Lekki toll gate, but was at Lekki phase 1 when the shooting started.
“But from the time I came, I didn’t see any dead bodies but I can certainly tell you that there was a shooting, an unauthorised shooting. I will call it a raid, I will call it assault. I am going to term it assault and raid. That is what I would use. It was an assault and I and I may be wrong but because I didn’t see those bodies, and I have not seen a family member that has come to cry and say one two or three persons have died.
If DJ Switch had seen that, she’s in the best position to say that because she was there. I cannot say she’s wrong. I was out of that circle. I was a few meters away. They were at the toll gate and I was a few meters away from them. I wasn’t there, I was at Lekki Phase 1. I can’t tell you what the military’s approach on their arrival was. So, I wouldn’t be able to tell you that they shot one, two, three, four, or five people. But I can certainly tell you that I took a lot of gunshot victims to the hospital.
If I took about 13 people to the hospital myself, minus the ones that the governor confirmed that were injured, he said about thirty, that is forty-something, DJ Switch might not be wrong. I took 13 to the hospital. So, if DJ Switch said she saw 15 dead people, by her own records, because she was there so she can speak on that part. I can’t speak on that and none of the thirteen people that I took to the hospital has died. They are still alive and some of them have been discharged.
For the record, I was not at the protest ground with the crowd protesting when the military came around so I cannot tell you what guns they were shooting. But I knew I heard gunshots and people were running. So, what could have happened when I was not there, while I was in my car, I don’t know. It was when I came back I realised everyone was running helter-skelter and I saw people falling down. I saw blood, people being shot and it was all looking bad so I decided to keep going (driving) and I could see clearly this time that the army had surrounded the protesters.
“They were gathered together into a circle and the army surrounded them with their guns and they were still singing the national pledge while they were surrounded. They saw my car coming and I was waving the flag and one of the military guys was shouting “ Go back, go back” and I wouldn’t go back and I was like I want to check up on my friends and they shouted that I should “ Go back now!” and then I saw a lady that was shot on the leg and another guy who was shot in the hand.
Yes, and they saw me carry wounded people in my car. I saw another guy who was shot in the hand but the bullet did not go into his arm but bruised him so I carried the three of them and drove to Ajah. They rejected them. I got to the government hospital and they said it was only for mother and child. Then Doren Hospital, Ajah, accepted them and I was happy. I told the Director that I was coming back and I then I drove back to tollgate and they were still shooting and I came down from the car raising my hand up and the guy kept shooting and I told them I wanted to help people that were wounded and he said No I should go back and I said, ‘‘Sir, I cannot go back I have to check the wounded people, and he refused then I took off my clothes and I said “ Sir, you have to shoot me” then he cocked a gun and aimed it at me and I was like I will not leave if you don’t allow me to rescue these people. While he aimed his gun at me, his colleague brushed me and hissed then I walked in there and rescued four other people and rushed them to the hospital.
When I was coming back the third time, I came with an ambulance to rescue more people. While I was there, one of the guys told me that the military was keeping the wounded or dead people in their trucks. So what I was told was that the military took some people and that they thought they were taking them to the military hospital. I don’t know if it is possible that it is true or I don’t know. When I came back again, I told the man (soldier) that I wanted to carry more people in the ambulance and I helped more people in the ambulance and they were taken to the hospital.”
what the #EndSARS protest proved
For the first time in the history of Nigeria, youths have taken a stand against impunity, bad governance and political rascality. A group of people once dubbed ‘lazy’ by the president shocked the government as they united with one mind to ruffle feathers and confront an old generation that has consistently failed them for the past 60 years. These youths damned any political affiliation, ethnic and religious sentiments to unite as a force to make a bold statement that it is no longer business as usual. Their voices were heard loud and clear, even on the world stage as they showed a thinking exclusively millennial. The organization, accountability, resoluteness in wanting a better Nigeria has never been seen in the country’s history.
It would be reckless on the part of the government, police, army and all the indicted agencies that have been failing the citizens to believe that since the protest is over, as such, it is still be business as usual.
DJ Switch will remain a hero to all of us for standing up to the government, risking her life to say the truth in the face of the powers that be. Her truth is my truth and no one can change that!